Movie Review: [The Purge: Anarchy](movie:995841).
Directed By: James DeMonaco.
Starring: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez and Zoe Soul.
A man seeking revenge, a couple stranded in the city and a mother and daughter forced out of their home ally with each other to make it through the annual Purge.
The year is 2024 and unemployment, crime and poverty are at an all time low because of an annual event that allows the people of America to commit any crime including murder for a 12 hour period on one day of the year without any legal consequences.
Last year, "The Purge" was released. It starred Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey and centered on a family whose home is invaded on the night of the Purge. They had to fight for their lives until the annual Purge comes to a close. That movie introduced an incredibly interesting concept but it failed in its execution. "The Purge: Anarchy" takes the horror out onto the streets of L.A and it centers on a group of five people as they stick together to make it through the night.
Each member of this group has their reasons for being stranded out in the night. A man we only get to know as Sergeant (Frank Grillo) is out seeking revenge for the death of his son exactly a year ago. Eva (Ejogo) and Cali (Soul) were forced out of their home due to armed mercenaries attempting to capture them. Shane (Gilford) and Liz (Sanchez) become stranded out in the night when a group of masked thugs sabotage their car. These five characters become united on an account of rare coincidence.
The first Purge set its great concept in a small environment, tried to create the fear of claustrophobia as this family becomes prisoners in their own house. The sequel takes the concept and gives it the treatment it deserved. It shows us the world of the Purge, how different groups of people view the event.
James DeMonaco who directs this film also directed the first film. I'm not sure if this was a pre-conceived plan since before the first film or if he really listened to the audience. I know myself and many other people thought that the potential for the Purge was wasted on the first film. If you have not seen the first film, do not worry, this film is based on completely new characters and new situations completely separate from its predecessor.
The Purge may be a franchise set out to entertain and possibly frighten but it does have some very interesting messages woven in. Messages about the governments view on poverty and the 'haves' and the 'have nots' and I think both movies really do well with those themes. The haves in the film purchase people so they can Purge without risking their own safety and that was a very important theme in the film. How everyone, rich or poor, has a lot of hate built up inside them that they have to get rid of.
The government encourages the Purge because it drops the rate of crime during the rest of the year and I thought that particular subplot in the film was incredibly interesting because it really gives you a sense of the world that this film is set in.
Frank Grillo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) leads this film and Grillo is remarkable in anything he's in. He's by far the best thing about the film because his character actually has an interesting back story and Grillo's performance is actually very good, I felt deeply sympathetic towards his character throughout the film. He was a good guy out to do some bad things to avenge the death of his son.
The rest of the cast are very forgettable unfortunately. Frank Grillo was not marketed as the main character but thank god he is because he steals the entire film. Eva and Cali are characters that are easily identifiable with, we are instantly made to care about them. Unfortunately the same can't be said for Shane and Liz who come off as irritating and that's partially to blame on the actors who play them.
This movie is purely a lot of fun. There's no better way to say it, this movie is just entertaining, it has a good pacing to it for the most part and the action and interactions between the characters is really enjoyable. Mainstream audiences will appreciate this film for its fun factor, its gruesome violence and dark tone. But more seasoned movie goers will appreciate this film for its subliminal messages on politics and human nature etc.
Frank Grillo is not the big hero of the film. He's very flawed and he knows what he's out to do it wrong but he feels he owes it to his son. There is surprisingly a lot of character development that happens throughout the film, each character ends up differently to what they were at the beginning.
One issue that the film suffers with is its length. There are one too many scenes of the characters just working their way through the streets and a possible ten minutes knocked off the film may have benefited it.
The movie is silly, over the top but its very fun and I think you'll have a good time watching it! I give "The Purge: Anarchy" a B!
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