Release Date: July 18, 2014
Director: James DeMonaco
Writer: James DeMonaco
Cast: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, Zoe Soul, Justina Machado, John Beasley, Jack Conley, Noel Gugliemi, Castulo Guerra, Michael K. Williams, Edwin Hodge, Lakeith Lee Stanfield, Roberta Valderrama, Niko Nicotera, Bel Hernandez, Lily Knight, Jasper Cole, Brandon Keener, Amy Price-Francis, Vick Sabitjian, Matt Lasky
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 103 minutes
Production Company: Blumhouse Productions, Platinum Dunes, Universal Pictures, Why Not Productions
Distributors: Universal Pictures, HorrorFlix, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures International
Genre: Action, Horror, Thriller
Country: USA, France
The Purge: Anarchy is an interesting piece that accomplished what the first film didn’t. It was an extremely clever idea that raised a few questions on what the possible future could entail. It was the rebirth of a nation that some agreed with, and others were repulsed with. Majority would hope that the premise would never come to fruition in the real world, but it peaked the interest of the masses on a new twisted take on life. Unfortunately, this great idea was packed down to a home invasion already chopping off the full potential at the knees, then handed audience members a group of ignorant characters that even the highest saint would want eliminated. It was a waste of time and a missed opportunity that left the majority disappointed. It’s great to know that with such a fresh concept, that any previous mistakes could be dusted off, examined, and reimagined by a different perspective. That’s exactly what ‘The Purge: Anarchy’ did, delivering a somewhat edge of your seat experience that is often a distant memory. I enjoyed nearly every beat of this film and hope there’s more to come down the line. I applaud writer/director James DeManco for picking himself back up and delivering us a movie I most likely will purchase on home video.
So the sequel begins as it should not wasting any time on the plot (you already know what the film is about). There’s a warm feeling in the air as we get to know a few groups of characters, and a little about their personal lives. It doesn’t get too detailed, but is enough for the audience to care. What’s likeable about the characters are each group is from a different class in society, and all felt real and/or relatable. We see what motivates them to start their day, and what they’re fighting for. As the film proceeds some of the annoying characters come forth, but their behavior is understood due to their current situation. They’re being hunted and have no sense of survival. On the flip side, the film dips a little due to a character acting out, in a way that deserves certain death. You can call me crazy, but if I’m hiding in a closet I’m not going to yell out, “Hey please don’t come find me and kill me.” The decision behind that is mind boggling. At other times, some characters don’t show appreciation for the help they’re given, and that’s an even bigger pain in the ass.
As far as the plot goes there are many that keeps things very interesting. Some of these plots are in the beginning while others don’t reveal themselves until the end. It’s an innovative way to leave some for the imagination and not saturate the audience too early on. It’s obvious that every little nuance was thought through to the smallest degree to ensure each character is doing everything in their power to succeed. Each subplot comes through very strong and while they shift back and forth from plot to plot you’re so engaged that when the next pops back up you’re a little surprised. This is just an example of how thrilling the film is.
I think the most important topic of the film is the direction someone’s moral compass is being pulled. Some civilian’s played the nice guy all their lives and are still fucked over and receive no penance. They’re hell-bent on revenge and have been awarded that in this annual nightmare. So many arguments can be raised on if this would really help society or ultimately destroy it. You could play the numbers game all day long with statements of how crime has decreased to record low amounts, or that unemployment is at an all-time low. Even if this is true, is anyone gaining a benefit? All those questioned are asked throughout the film, are addressed, and I’m happy with the answers.
Overall The Purge: Anarchy was better than the first film across the board. There was a great lead character named Sergeant played by Frank Grillo, and he’s now becoming a presence I look forward to seeing in the future. He fits the role in every way, and his character grows through his interactions from the supporting cast. This is a straight up action film that’s fun, and delivers a high level of entertainment. The fact that some characters grow mentally and physically in only a matter of hours was a pleasure. Then stepping up to the plate when needed even adds more bang to your buck. There are still surprises in the end, and all the violence isn’t over the top. It fits well within the context of the film, which made it feel as if this wasn’t too far off from reality. I’m not suggesting a 2015 purge, but it can encourage society to make changes without throwing it in your face. This film in my opinion deserves at least another sequel, because it’s fresh and socially relevant. If not, it would be a shame due to the great job that was done here.