A ridiculous premise may or may not deter people from venturing into â??The Purgeâ?? and that may or may not be justified. A re-born American government has managed to eliminate crime, poverty and unemployment by allowing for one night, one 12-hour period a year, where there are no laws and no emergency services. For one night, murder, theft and whatever people of devious mind can think of, is legal. It is a simple premise and a silly premise. Although the creators of â??The Purgeâ??, the movie, James DeManaco and Michael Bay, arenâ??t necessarily trying to make an accurate statement, but a social one.
The movie focuses on one family, the Sandinâ??s; most noteably the father, James Sandin (Ethan Hawke). James is the man who marketed and sold the ultimate security system to all of the rich elite who can afford to be safe on a night like the Purge. Their homes are locked down and impenetrable, or are they? Well, if they were, we wouldnâ??t have a movie now would we?
â??The Purgeâ?? has its moments of silliness; most of that in the final third of the movie. I have to admit that I was hooked though, for a bit. The tension builds nicely and you get to know the family enough that you care for them and their situation. The movie also tries to make a social statement about the Government and how people all have pent up anger and violent tendencies. Allowed to release that pent up and inevitable tendency for a short period, in theory, opens the door for 364 days of non-violence.
The movie focuses its attention narrowly, which damages this attempt to make a wide government statement. The social statement works to an extent, although much of the finality of the film is spoiled by some silly staged moments, like people praying around their innocent and unarmed targets before doing the violent deed. Of course, anytime you see someone explaining what he or she is doing or pausing before doing something, it is almost always a lame setup for someone to interfere or spoil the plan.
If you are going into â??The Purgeâ?? expecting to see this premise explain itself or justify itself, save your money. It isnâ??t going to do it and you will inevitably come out thinking that the movie was as stupid as you assume it is. The moviemakers arenâ??t trying to justify this premise as something that is feasible; they are making a social comment in a fictional world. If you study the intent behind the characters actions given this one night opportunity, you will enjoy the movie much more.
Regardless of which audience member you are though, the ending will inevitably leave you disappointed. The carnage and unpredictability takes a dramatic u-turn in the movies final third, becoming clichÃ©â?? and safe. It built and built and then leveled off to a typical Hollywood, test-audience ruined dud. They could have done so much more to make people forget the premise and enjoy the film and they didnâ??t.