When I watch a movie I’ve never seen before, my habit is to do so late at night after my kids have gone to bed so I can actually hear every word of dialogue. I become annoyed with interruptions, preferring to immerse myself in whatever fictional world I’ve chosen, shutting out everything else. A movie, I always thought, was more powerful–more gripping–in the dark and the quiet.
The night I rented The Purge, I had everything set up. I’d parked myself on the couch, tucked under my favorite blanket, a plate of cookies on the table, remote control in hand. The concept of this movie really intrigued me and I was looking forward to spending two hours with Ethan Hawke. Then I hit “play.”
I can’t tell you how long I made it into The Purge before I was muttering under my breath, rolling my eyes, and finally waking my husband up so I could systematically ruin any interest he had in ever watching the film. Allow me to do the same for you…
We start out in an America that encourages its citizens to commit heinous crimes (even–or perhaps especially–murder) one night a year. No one will be punished for these acts, ever. The annual purge is supposed to control man’s lust for violence or something, and keep the streets safer the other 364 days per year.
Apparently, this setup works. The country IS safer. The night of the purge is bloody and violent, but if you have the means, you don’t have to worry about that. Hawke and his family are definitely among the upper class. Their home is equipped with gates, alarms, and an arsenal of weapons capable of protecting them from any intruder savvy enough to breach their defenses.
Of course, the vulnerability of this fortress is not a matter of faulty locks. No, it’s the conscientious kid who decides to risk his family’s safety by disabling the security system. The kid INVITES an intruder into their home the one night out of the whole year that crime is allowed. Seriously? SERIOUSLY?
I have a problem with this plot device in general. If you can’t make stuff happen without relying on a kid to screw something up…I’d rather stuff didn’t happen. Unfortunately, it did…over and over again. Both children are guilty of inexplicably poor decisions, and their parent’s reactions are infuriating. For example: when the stranger is running loose in their home and the daughter doesn’t want to stay in the room, safe, with her family, the mother LETS THE KID LEAVE with little more than a shrug of her shoulders.
I’m more likely to spare the rod and spoil the child but in a life or death situation, I’m willing to be as pushy as I have to, to KEEP MY CHILDREN SAFE.
Ugh. Infuriating is a massive understatement. As I try to recall more specific details, I find myself so annoyed that I am once again rolling my eyes and muttering. This movie could have been so much better. Off the top of my head, I can think of two ways they could have accomplished the same events without completely pissing me off.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m just not the target audience. For what it’s worth, there were a couple cool fight scenes, and I liked the twist at the end…but the struggle to make it that far was much, much too hard.