I don’t know about you but nothing gets me angrier when I am at a movie, other than the movie being bad, is people not being quiet or performing activities that makes you wonder why they are at the movie in the first place. The noise of someone talking on their cell phone, the distracting glow when a moviegoer is texting or playing a game on their cellphone or when they just can’t shut up because they are having a conversation with their friend or they have to put their 2 cents in about the movie. This drives me crazy….unless the behavior is a genuinely honest reaction to the movie much like the way the laugh tracks on some television comedies was created to mimic having a studio audience. When the movie is working on a gut level, the audience really gets into it. And ‘The Purge’ is the first movie in a long time where I have seen it.
This is the kind of movie that connects with audiences on a primal level. You could feel the emotions of the audience through their subtle and not so subtle reactions. I vividly remember 3 of the exclamations people yelled out during one of the scenes in the film – “Way to go Ethan Hawke!’, “Ethan Hawke is a bad-ass!”, and “When did Ethan Hawke become a ninja?”. By the way, that last one was said in a serious, not joking fashion. And there were other comments about situations and characters. But instead of being angry at any of the audience members, I appreciated how engrossed and emotionally involved they were in the movie. The simplicity of good vs. bad especially when the bad guys are creepy and psychotic is something that people can immediately and thoroughly relate to.
‘The Purge’ is one of those movies that can be easily summed up in one sentence : In a future America, all crimes including murder are legal for one night every year. During the course of the movie, this concept is used for the sake of satire and there is dialogue between characters about the morality of it and the way it makes people behave and the reality about true human nature, with some echoes of a Twilight Zone episode. If you think to much about the premise, you will figure out that there are aspects of it that don’t really work, but for the sake of enjoying the movie, you must perform a task required for some movies : Suspension of Disbelief. For this film, there are going to be some people that can do that and enjoy the movie for its tone, execution and despite it’s flaws, the way the story does tackle the morals and satire in an intellectual and satisfying way.
This movie is only 85 minutes but the intensity, subject matter, acting and style really work with that length. It only feels short in that you would like more of an explanation of how the country got this way as well as some different points of view, not just what happens in the suburban setting of the film. Yes, the opening shows video of the previous year’s Purge but they could have made the movie 2 hours and given a better framework and the viewer a better perspective on the overall situation. This movie is not for everyone. If you can suspend your disbelief based on the premise, then you should give this movie a try, but if you have a problem doing that then this movie is probably not for you.
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