Friday, 26 July 2013

Too late for The Purge?

The Purge
Director: James DeMonaco
Run Time: 85 Minutes
Genre: Thriller

Seeing as I've just started and the last *new* film I saw was The Purge, I'm gonna talk about it. I'd been looking forward to this film for quite a while. To me, the concept seemed - and was - brilliant. If you don't know already, basically one night every year, 21st March, the US have a "Purge". All crime is legal. The reasoning for this is that it apparently gives people an outlet for all their rage, why commit crimes illegally when you can just wait until the Purge to do everything legally; this is including murder.

Now, the film starts out on a really, really good premise, and just got better. For example the opening scene, in my opinion, was brilliant. It opens to (what's supposed to be) CCTV footage of previous Purges. Essentially images of people beating each other up and shooting at each other, as to be expected when havoc ensues. The interesting part is the music. Accompanying these scenes is this happy, cheery, calm song, as if it's suggesting that the Purge is literally just a normal thing, part of their every day lives.

Then the film starts. The first half of the movie was really brilliant, the second half... not so much. But we'll get there. It begins with the Father (Ethan Hawke) driving home on the day of the Purge, which lasts 12 hours, from 7PM - 7AM. He stops to talk to neighbours, conversing about casual things such as the event happening in less than 2 hours in which thousands of people will be brutally executed. Which makes the whole situation alot more unsettling. There's even a guy walking his dog. This event really has just became the norm. Also, ontop of this, the radio reporter is also talking about it as if it's nothing - infact, he even gets a caller to tell him his Purge plans. Which ofcourse are too hunt down and kill his boss.

Then the Father returns home to very attractive wife (Lena Headey) and everything's fine. He comes bearing 'good news' which he shall tell the family at dinner. Again, everyone is just going about their daily lives as if nothing out of the ordinary is happening.

It's now the Mother's turn to speak with the neighbours, she talks to them about the annual Purge party she usually throws, but she isn't thrown one this year as she wants to just have a quiet night in with the family. Now, I find this very interesting, has this event really become the norm, or do people just try and distract themselves by having parties or having a night in with the family to ignore what's going on, if they pretend it's not happening, maybe that feeling of guilt mixed with terror will go away, right?

Anyway, the film continues, they make it very clear that this is a regular, normal thing, and that's something I really, really, really like about this film. Eventually the house goes into lockdown. Oh, also, the Father owns a company that provide security for houses, specifically built for the Purge. Meaning that this event has become such a usual thing, that people have started making money out of it. This movie really has the human race (as a whole) summed up perfectly. Now that the premise for the Purge has been set, let's get to the actual event. This is when it gets really good.

As I'm sure you're aware, the annoying twit of a son (Max Burkholder) disarms the security to give sanctuary to a homeless man. Who then disappears into hiding somewhere in the house.

Now for my favourite part: the bad guys. They are first shown casually walking down the street together, one of them firing an fully automatic assault rifle. However, they're all wearing (very creepy) blank, smiling masks. They're obviously searching for the homeless man. The leader of the bunch (Rhys Wakefield) rings the doorbell to speak with the family. They listen to him via the CCTV camera above the door.

This guy, he's one of the best actual villains I've seen in a long time. He describes himself - and his companions - as young, well educated people who just want to Purge, as it is their right to do so. They explain how the man they have given refuge is nothing but a homeless pig who deserves to be sacrificed. All the family have to do, is give them the homeless man, and they will leave them alone. And honestly, I would bet any money that he would've kept his word. But if they didn't... well, they had the means to break into any house they like, no matter how much security it had.

The thing about this guy is, he isn't evil. Antagonists like this are absolutely brilliant characters. He literally just wants to do what he has been told is right. He has been told for a good majority of his life, that this is a good thing. The Purge is helpful. He has been brought up knowing that it is his human right to do whatever he likes on that one night.

Also, not too long later, he issues another warning to the family, in person this time. The Father is at the other side of the door, trying to explain that they are looking for the man. During this conversation, one of his companions gets angry and shouts to the family. The antagonist does not hesitate to shoot him before turning to the Father and politely saying, "Please bear in mind, Mr Sandin, he was my friend. You, are not." Now, this kind of suggests that not only does this guy think he's doing right, he also has sociopathic tendencies. So essentially, the antagonist of this film is a deluded sociopath. And that is brilliant.

Back to the film. Obviously, the family weren't going to put their own lives at risk for a homeless stranger.  They sought to find the man, who would have been caught sooner if it weren't for the brat of a son (again). But eventually they caught him, tied him down to a chair and normally that would be that. They would give the homeless man to the bad guys, the bad guys would leave them alone, and that would be that. But that wouldn't make a very good film now, would it? This is when the film goes downhill...

Alot.

The homeless man decides to stop struggling and tells the Father to protect his family and give him to them. Then boom, sudden change of heart from the Father. They decide they're going to leave the homeless man tied to the chair and fight any intruders. Great idea, Dad!

So the bad guys literally rip off the security systems and enter the house. This is the part I was really, really looking forward to. This is the part it had all been building up to.

And they ruined it.

In all honesty, I was expecting a horror film. And in all honesty, it should have been a horror film. It would have been alot better if they filled this whole section with tension and suspense. Maybe a few jumpscares. I'm sure if the rest of it was done right they could get away with it. They had built it all up, they had this great platform, and they dropped it.

Instead preferring the all out action scene. Don't get me wrong, I do like action, but this wasn't even good action. It was repetitive, predictable and just boring to watch. The thing that irked me more than anything about it was these are people who have claimed they participate in the Purge every year. Yet they can't handle themselves against a family who have probably never took arms before?

Every time a family member almost dies, something convenient always happens. Every time. The most used one in this film is another family member comes along just at the right moment and shoots the attacker. Get used to this, it happens alot.

Now, if you're yet to see it, please stop reading now. There will be spoilers. I will say this though: from here on out, it's just downhill until the Purge is over.

However, among all my bitching about this part, there was one part that I really liked. The father fends off an attack from two people, killing them both, and the music goes silent. There's no tension, no suspense, just a sense of relief. He then goes to leave the room, but just as he does, the main antagonist appears and stabs him.

The atmosphere at this part was perfect. The family member had fought off an attack and was relieved. There was no music playing anymore, everything seemed fine. And then out of nowhere one of the family members is stabbed. The antagonist then thanks the family member for their sacrifice and kisses them on the forehead before leaving him/her to bleed to death.

The rest of the family each find the father at the bottom of the staircase, still bleeding out. They're all with him, grieving as he passes away. This is when all of the bad guys come in and are about to kill the family.

Admittedly, I did not see this one coming, but I knew the family wouldn't die. They've tried to keep them alive for too long to just kill them off. The neighbours burst through the door and shoot all of the bad guys (surprise, surprise, the bad guys got shot right before they were about to kill one of them!).

This part however, I did see coming. The Mother thanks the neighbours for saving them when all of a sudden the neighbours turn and tell them that they weren't there to save them, they were there because that family were their's to kill. When asked why, so they could cleanse themselves of the hatred and anger that's built up inside them.

Now, I just want to say something... no. Just... no. I think these guys were so wrapped up in showing that humans are despicable creature (which they are, as a whole) that they seemed to forget that there are actual decent people in the world who would not kill anyone given the chance.

For these neighbours to turn on their friends just because they can is absolutely ridiculous. But, I'll move on from that before I get into a rant about that...

Anyway the neighbours are about to kill the family, then completely unexpectedly (sarcasm) the homeless man appears with a gun and tells the neighbours to back off. Which they do. The man leaves the neighbours' lives in the Mother's hands, and as an actual decent human being she lets them live.

The film gets better from here now! Now that the Purge is over. Well, almost.

Five minutes before the ending of the Purge gives room to one of the most badass scenes in the whole film, which I won't spoil, but it is really great. I shant spoil the ending either.

This is not the end of the film completely though. As the credits are rolling up, there are news reports of the Purge coming in. They document the events of the previous nights as if they're announcing sports scores! Which again, brings us back to the start, reminding us that this is a normal thing. It happens every year. It's just business as usual.

And that's basically it, I think. Overall, it was a good film. Brilliant concept, even better starting grounds and the build up was amazing. However, the climax of the film was, in my opinion, very weak and could have been done alot better. But I really like the ending too.

Overall Rating: 3/5

What does everyone else think? And should I do more film reviews?

Thanks for reading!

- Jake

Thursday, 25 July 2013

First post!

Well, I've finally got this thing set up. Took a while, they don't really make it easy for the new guys...
Anyway, I doubt anyone will actually see this, but whatever. I'll probably use this as my little space to bitch and rant about things. Mostly to do with films or video games, but I will probably also use it to complain about life-y things. You have been warned.
So yeah, that's it really. Toodles.