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
Rhys Wakefield was cast as the Polite Leader of the home invaders one day before shooting started. Several casting sessions had been held, but all the other actors who had auditioned had overdone the part. According to James DeMonaco, Wakefield played it cool with an unsettling smile, as if he had fun with it, which was perfect for the role because it reminded DeMonaco of the cult dynamics of Charles Manson. See more »
At the beginning of the film, where the highlights of the Purge are shown, some of the scenes in "USA" cities are clearly set in British cities as characterized by the UK road marking system and the single- and double-yellow "no waiting" lines at the sides of the road. See more »
America—the near future: the annual 'Purge'—a 12-hour period where all crime is legalised—turns into a nightmare for a wealthy family who had hoped to spend the time in the safety of their heavily fortified home.
The Purge has been the victim of a lot of negativity, but I found it to be a well-executed thriller with a satirical edge that deliberately adopts a far-fetched premise in order to take a pop at the USA's culture of violence, its undercurrent of racism and a legal system that favours the rich.
I imagine that much of the hate comes from Americans who simply don't like the messages the film so effectively illustrates—an understandable reaction, perhaps, but sometimes its good to take a long hard look in the mirror, and if you don't like what you see, do something to make a change.
On a more shallow note, the action was suitably hard-hitting, with the snooker room fight being particularly bad-ass, and both Lena Headey and Zoey Sandin are total babes.
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