Movie: The Purge: Anarchy
My Rating: 4 stars
I really like the first Purge. It was so dark, and brutal, and there were so many possibilities. But, that first story was on a very small scale, focusing on the trials of one specific family. So, I was really glad to see that another film was in the works. The premise is so rich that there are so many other stories to tell—so many different paths a person could take on the one night of the year when all violent crimes are legal. And, this second installment obligingly expands the scope to explore not only the psychology of the hunters, and the distress of the hunted, but also investigates the kind of rotten, corrupt government that would be capable of enacting such a cynical and pragmatic program. It’s an excellent second look.
In the first film, a family is attacked by a band of psychotic teens who are trying to break into their heavily armored home. But, this movie joins a group of people who are unwittingly caught outside when the Purge begins. Now, I’m not the kind of person who would ever go on a last minute grocery run right before the Purge. There’s so much that could go wrong. One flat tire, and you’re done. I’d go into hiding days in advance. But, for the sake of this story, there are stupid people out there who are perfectly happy to roll the dice like that. And, thus begins the longest night of these idiots’ lives.
Although, we learn pretty early on that these dolts aren’t entirely to blame. They’d like to believe that anyone safely shut in his home would be safe from the rampaging hordes outside, but nothing’s ever that simple. On this crazy night, life has a certain price. And, there are plenty of entrepreneurs out there who are ready and willing to exploit the possibilities. And, then there are the corrupt politicians to take into account. They’re the kind of power-drunk, narcissists who just can’t be trusted. I was really excited by all the new directions this movie took.
I liked this movie a lot—maybe even more than the original. But, that might be because I think Ethan Hawke is kind of weasely, and couldn’t identify with his character. But, really I feel like this second movie was willing to try more things. And, that’s just the kind of thing you’d hope for from a sequel. I definitely recommend this movie to people who are into violent thrillers. It’s probably best if you watch the original movie first, just for some context, but it’s not totally necessary. But, this movie is a wild, tense, suspenseful thrill ride. You’ll feel every minute of the terrifying night these poor souls are trapped outside, and that’s not a bad thing.