The Purge

“Some time ago, I was going thru the list of upcoming movies on IMDB. Hafta do that every couple weeks to update the movie calendar, of course! I’m not even joking. Anyways, the one sentence summary for this one sounded really intriguing, so I put it on the list. I figured I’d hear more about it as it got loser. But I never really did. So we get to this weekend, where I have zero to do, and the movie offerings are slim. That means I did what I very rarely do. I watched the trailer online. With as often as I’m at the theater, I tend to see all the important trailers repeatedly, so I almost never bother watching them at home. To the top of this week’s must list it went.

If you’ve heard of this movie, you’ve heard the concept. For those of you who haven’t, it’s about a decade into the feature. Crime and unemployment and other such badness are pretty much wiped. Why? Because one night a year, all crime is legalized. You’ve got one night to get it out of your system without consequence and then the rest of the year goes by wonderfully. Whoa.

Before even getting to the Common my mind was racing with thoughts on the scenario, and I expected to leave there with my head swimming. The film did take some different approaches on the philosophy than I would have expected, and of course didn’t go too deep into it, but it did raise some new considerations.

I guess I took a more logical approach to the set up. In my head, crime essentially got scheduled. Steal what you need, kill who you gotta kill, settle your scores, then go about your life for the next 364. Here it was more of a release that some people just needed. While many people would just hide in their fortified homes and wait out the night, others would plan and hunt or party or otherwise enjoy themselves. The film focused primarily on murder instead of the myriad of other crimes that could be freely commited. Makes perfect sense for streamlining the film, but leaves so much unexplored. The movie also raised questions about class division and the importance of the illusion of security over security itself.

As a horror/suspense I think it was absolutely on point. While some was predictable, there was always a sense of unease and expectation. I certainly felt my heart beating rapidly in my chest. I did take some issue with a couple parts of the set up. A few moments of “”really?! How could be so stupid as to “”, but I could follow those up with “”because otherwise we wouldn’t have a movie”” and be satisfied with that. While I consider this more a suspense than a horror film (mostly because it didn’t feel like the prime directive was to scare) I was sufficiently creeped out by some of the characters. Those masks and the cheerful leader guy *shudder* I gotta say, Ethan Hawke certainly has a knack for picking these under the radar, criminally under appreciated films.

On the T ride over, I ran into a friend and we chatted briefly about the concept. He commented that he’d be much more interested to read a book about that society as a whole instead of just a movie focused on the one family. I too would like to read that book.

The Purge – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

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