VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIOEW: The Purge 1 (2013)

Claire: 4.4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Carolyn: 4.4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.1/5 stars Netflix, 5.5/10 IMDB (seems low, but IMDB is usually low).

What a premise: The government allows all crime to be legal for a period of 12 hours every year.

Carolyn thought it was an interesting commentary on human behavior and preventing crime, but then I had to interject that it was not a commentary on that at all. It was a commentary on using crime prevention as an excuse for class warfare: A phenomenon that is very real and happens in the real world today.  Very often — in the real world — the vaunted public interest of stopping crime or making people safe is used as an excuse to reduce personal liberty. And this is the ultimate example of that.

In that sense, this is a political commentary along the same lines as The Hunger Games, but in a more decentralized, less post-apocalyptic, less futuristic way. The society seems to be a present-day society, whereas Hunger Games seems to be 50-100 years in the future. But the message is the same: Class warfare is entertaining for the upper class, hell for the lower class, and is designed to destroy everyone but the rich.

So the movie had political ramifications for me, regardless of how good it was otherwise. And I liked that.

But I felt it was good, otherwise, as well. There were at least 5 different factions of people — not even counting the conflicting motives of the family. These factions all had their own agendas, and the viewer didn’t always know what they were. This allowed for a lot of small twists and surprises that helped betray one’s expectations and make the movie more interesting and less guessable.

Some people are mad at this movie because not everyone acted rationally. They seem to forget that a movie where everyone acted rationally would generally not be interesting. You need some people to do some stupid things to get everyone into a predicament, so that you can be entertained by the prospect of getting OUT of said predicament. Do I really have to explain this? A horror movie where everyone acted rational would mean, in this case, a movie where everyone locks up their house and nobody goes outside during The Purge. That. Would. Be. Boring. I’m sure there are plenty of horror movies where nobody does anything stupid. It wouldn’t work in this case. So I don’t view that as a valid complaint.

Written & directed by James DeMonaco.

Ethan Hawke (Gattaca, Daybreakers, Reality Bites, Mystery Date, Explorers, 1 ep of Robot Chicken) as James Sandin, the dad.
Lena Headey (Dredd, Sarah Conner in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, St. Trinian’s (2007), 300, The Broken, The Brothers Grimm) as Mary Sandin, the wife.
Max Burkholder (Astro Boy, 17 eps of Family Guy, 2 eps of The Cleveland Show, 2 eps of American Dad, 1 ep of The Spectacular Spider-Man) as Charlie Sandin, the son.
Adelaide Kane (she’s in some new Teen Wolf show) as Zoey Sandin, the daughter.
Edwin Hodge (Dorm Daze 1, Take Me Home Tonight, 1 ep of Heroes) as Bloody Stranger.
Rhys Wakefield (+1) as Polite Leader. Claire recognized him instantly a few days later when we watched +1.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2184339/combined