When I heard the Purge: Anarchy was coming out my elitist eyes rolled. I found the premise of the first installment of The Purge intriguing enough but the execution left much to be desired. It basically boiled down to a not so interesting home invasion thriller set in the context of an interesting semi-dystopian / disturbing new America. I wasn’t impressed, hence the eye roll when I heard about a sequel. The reality is the first movie cost so little to make that they made another because, why not? How is this movie compared to the first? Read on to find out.
The Purge takes place a mere ten years in the future and a bleak future it is. Murder, crime and unemployment are so high that our economy was failing and could not sustain itself. Thanks to the NFFA (New Founding Fathers of America) and The Purge “for the fifth consecutive year, violent and nonviolent crime rates have fallen nationwide.” What is the Purge? The Purge is an annual twelve hour period where all crime including murder is legal. How exactly will this help our culture? Well, it won’t but here is what the NFFA claims.
Much like the Patriots of old, followers of the NFFA recognize that big problems require big solutions. The same complacent thinking that dragged America into an era of poverty, violence, and crime WILL NOT fix our nation… By recognizing the inherently violent nature of mankind, the NFFA has succeeded in creating a lawful, healthy outlet for American outrage. We pride ourselves on being the only party that will never ask you to deny your true self.
For more on the history of the Purge see the NFFA’s official website.
The movie follows three story lines that quickly coalesce into one which overall boils down to “survive the night.” The movie focuses on Sergeant (Frank Grillo) the only one of the five main characters who is on the streets by choice. Grillo plays a kind, tough yet reluctant good samaritan to a mother (Carmen Ejogo, Eva) and daughter (Zoë Soul, Cali) and terrified married couple who would be dead apart from him. For the most part Grillo’s character is very likable. His tough guy facade is gradually chipped away by Eva’s daughter Cali as she asks him probing questions. Many of these interactions are dare I say “sweet” amidst a terrible set of circumstances and give the viewer a kinship to root for throughout the film. The supporting cast was overall good, though the married couple (Shane and Liz) seemed the least believable.
One of the best things I can say about The Purge: Anarchy is that it surprised me. I went in expecting a thin plot and forgettable world. I left pretty intrigued by the world The Purge has created. Though the subtext is far from subtle, we get a deeper look into the political and social realities of the Purge and the literal class wars that break out between rich and poor. Good news, we’re not all psychotic killers with hockey masks. Bad News, when it comes down it we will still kill you if we can. Sure the “survive the night” has been done a thousand times before, but within an interesting political and social context it can be pretty interesting. This movie is not a horror movie as the first one attempted to be.
This movie is a straight up action movie with an 80’s / 90’s feel to it and Grillo delivers as the gruff police sergeant with a heart of gold.
All in all I was satisfied with The Purge: Anarchy, I’m actually somewhat interested in a third installment to see where this interesting social experiment goes. But, let’s try to keep it at three movies guys… no more cash grabs.
It should be said that this movie is not suitable for children. Though all crimes are legal, the only crime highlighted is murder, so this is not a movie I can recommend to most people despite the interesting world the NFFA has created. For a detailed breakdown on all the content be sure to checkout the Plugged In Online review and be smart when you choose what to watch.