2013 Running time: 85 Certificate: 15 Rating: 3

Synopsis

In a future America unemployment is at an all time low and the people live a life of almost perfect harmony. However, the price of this peace is that for one night law and order is suspended and you can commit any crime you like. Blumhouse Productions, the team behind the Paranormal Activity series, Sinister and Dark Skies, stick to their tried and tested formula with another budget conscious imperiled family shocker. A Twilight Zone idea is seasoned with extract of Straw Dogs and A Clockwork Orange.

Director

  • James DeMonaco

Cast

  • Ethan Hawke

  • Lena Headey

  • Adelaide Kane

  • Dana Bunch

  • Tony Oller

Review

The Purge's ambitious plot speculates how regular people would behave if all law was rescinded for twelve hours, particularly in the good-old gun-totin' US of A.

Home security exec James Sandin (Hawke) faces a lethal dilemma when his son grants sanctuary to a homeless black stranger (Hodge).

Unfortunately, the incomer is being hunted by a gang of privileged prep-school scum who besiege the Sandin house, threatening to storm it unless they have their toy back.

Bloody CCTV footage set to Debussy's Claire de Lune over the opening credits sets the tone for a disturbing take on America's obsession with violence and caught-on-camera entertainment.

Hawke follows his performance in Sinister with another interesting troubled lead and a scene when James and his wife Mary (Heady) torture the stranger into submission in front of their horrified children (Burkholder and Kane) is a knockout.

The climactic assault on the house packs several gut-punches of genuine fury as James defends his family against the rich kids led by Rhys Wakefield's hatefully well-spoken psycho, while in the background radio and TV commentators discuss accusations that the Purge is social engineering to eradicate society's have-nots.

Rob Daniel

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