THE PURGE (R)

‘The Purge’ (R)

 
 
Ethan Hawke tris to protect his home from intruders in 'The Purge.'
Ethan Hawke tris to protect his home from intruders in 'The Purge.'
UNIVERSAL PICTURES

Movie Info

Rating:

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headley, Max Burkholder, Adelaide Kane, Edwin Hodge, Rhys Wakefield.

Writer-director: James DeMonaco.

Producers: Michael Bay, Jason Blum, Andrew Form.

A Universal Pictures release. Running time: 85 minutes. Vulgar language, violence, gore. Playing at area theaters.


rrodriguez@MiamiHerald.com

According to the what-if? scenario of The Purge, in the near future government will shut down for 12 hours one night each year — no police, no hospitals, no 911 — and people will be free to do whatever they want, even commit murder, without legal consequence.

The movie tries to explain its preposterous premise by claiming that the national crime rate has gone down to 1 percent, because most victims of the annual bloodbath are thieves and drug addicts and homeless people — you know, the kinds of people who want to steal your stuff and hurt you (white-collar criminals are apparently off-limits). Apparently, every bad guy in the country can be taken down over the course of one night, and mysteriously, without explanation, no replacements rise up until the following year.

James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) has become a wealthy man thanks to the purge, selling high-tech security systems that turn your home into an impenetrable fortress. While carnage reigns outside your front door, you can sip a fine Cabernet and spend quality time with friends, safe inside your luxurious mansion. The allegory is hard to miss, but writer-director James DeMonaco wants to have it both ways: He expects you to be horrified by the film’s central concept, but he also wants to stoke your bloodlust and root for the characters to get their hands bloody when an intruder sneaks into their house. Shoot! Kill! Chop him with that axe!

The Purge, which co-stars Game of Thrones’ Lena Headley as Hawke’s wife, is the kind of movie in which people are constantly running away into another room for no reason, forcing someone to go look for them. The film has some vague things to say about class and racial differences, but they are drowned out by the sounds of blasting shotguns and huge knives being plunged into people’s chests. The baddies carrying out their siege on the heroes’ home wear creepy masks and tend to pop up in unexpected places, which brings to mind 2008’s The Strangers, another home-invasion thriller that was far scarier, less self-important and had the courage of its convictions. The Purge isn’t just stupid; it’s also pretentious and often makes no sense. OK, so murder is legal for the next 12 hours. But do you really think your girlfriend is going to run off with you and live happily ever after if you shoot her disapproving father in the head?

 

Read more Reeling with Rene Rodriguez stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">What’s the secret?</span> Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites are a brother and sister trying to solve the mystery of a demonic mirror in ‘Oculus.’

    Oculus (R)

    Mirrors have been as much of a fixture in horror movies as knives and cats that suddenly jump from the shadows. But they’re best in cameos, as in the ending of Dressed to Kill or the bathroom scene in The Shining. Oculus revolves entirely around an ornate mirror that is, what, a gateway to hell? A summoning force for evil spirits? A really ugly piece of furniture from a medieval Pottery Barn?

  •  
Iko Uwais and Cecep Arif Rahman square off in a scene from ‘The Raid 2.’

    The Raid 2 (R)

    Every time you think The Raid 2 can’t possibly top itself, writer-director Gareth Evans goes “Oh, yeah? Watch this.” Most of 2011’s The Raid: Redemption took place inside a tenement raided by a SWAT team to apprehend a mobster and his squad of killers holed up inside. Practically no one survived the movie — the violence was astonishing — but the contained setting and the idea of having events grow hairier for the good guys the higher they went in the building gave the tight 101-minute movie a sense of compressed, relentless action. Now comes The Raid 2 (known as The Raid 2: Bernadal in its native Indonesia), which is far more expansive and complicated, and runs almost 2 ½ hours. Miraculously, the new picture makes the old one feel like Evans was just warming up.

  •  
A sexual addict (Charlotte Gainsbourg) visits a therapist (Jamie Bell) with unorthodox methods to try to help get over her compulsion in ‘Nymphomaniac: Vol. 2’

    NYMPHOMANIAC VOL. 2 (unrated)

    Nymphomaniac Vol. 2 (unrated)

    Things get really kinky in Nymphomaniac Vol. 2, the second chapter in director Lars von Trier’ epic-length saga about a woman who can’t get enough. If you saw Vol. 1, which ended with our perpetually horny heroine Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) losing all feeling in her sexual organs, you might be wondering, “How could this movie outdo the first one?” To quote the great Bachman-Turner Overdrive, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category