America's third political party, the New Founding Fathers of America, comes to power and conducts an experiment: no laws for 12 hours on Staten Island. No one has to stay on the island, but $5,000 is given to anyone who does.
In an America wracked by crime and overcrowded prisons, the government has sanctioned an annual 12-hour period in which any and all criminal activity-including murder-becomes legal. The police can't be called. Hospitals suspend help. It's one night when the citizenry regulates itself without thought of punishment. On this night plagued by violence and an epidemic of crime, one family wrestles with the decision of who they will become when a stranger comes knocking. When an intruder breaks into James Sandin's (Ethan Hawke) gated community during the yearly lockdown, he begins a sequence of events that threatens to tear a family apart. Now, it is up to James, his wife, Mary (Lena Headey), and their kids to make it through the night without turning into the monsters from whom they hide.Written by
At the very beginning of the movie, when James Sandin arrives home, he says, "Home again, home again, jiggety-jig." This is from the opening of an old nursery rhyme, "To market, to market, to buy a fat pig/Home again, home again, jiggety-jig." See more »
When James Sandin picks up a billiards ball to hit the purger with, it is yellow, however, when the ball makes contact with the purger's head in the next shot, it is red. See more »
Our target for this year's purge is hiding in your home. You have one hour to find him and give him to us or we will kill all of you. We will be coming in.
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Starting out with a silly basic premise of allowing anarchy to reign unchecked for 12 hours once a year, this film has reasonably decent performances from its cast but is sold out by generally dull writing and consistently mediocre and uninspired direction. The idea that crime can be controlled by allowing a free-for-all one night a year is ridiculous, and it says much about a society which is so incapable of controlling itself that it needs to resort to a purge instead of finding healthy ways to channel aggression.
The writer/director relies far too much on stupid choices made by the characters (I counted four from the son before I just stopped counting) for his plot twists, and also far too much on last second saves of someone's life when all seems to be lost (again, I counted four separate incidents before I stopped counting). The cast works hard, but there's zero chemistry between the parents and nothing but smirking, mincing lunacy from the main antagonist. The fixed, passive-aggressive grins as everyone wishes everyone a safe night became simply annoying.
People who don't mind a bit of barely-motivated gore and violence will likely enjoy this without caring about the poor quality. People who want some intelligence in the films they watch would do better to look elsewhere.
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