Director: James DeMonaco
Starring: Frank Grillo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, Carmen Ejogo, Zoë Soul, Michael K. Williams
On March 21st at 7pm all crime is legal for twelve hours. Police and emergency services are suspended during this time. For this you can thank the New Founding Fathers of America. Whilst last year’s film was a ‘home invasion’ movie, The Purge: Anarchy opens up the world and explores the twisted society that is being portrayed. The sequel is on a par with Aliens and The Godfather: Part II when considering how infinitesimally superior it is compared to the original.
The film follows three sets of people that must band together if they want to see morning – a throwback to the horror movies of old. Eva (Carmen Ejogo) and her daughter Cali (Zoë Soul) are fetched like cattle out of their apartment, Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Sanchez) are a young couple that are being hunted after their car’s cables are cut, and Leo (Frank Grillo) is a man on a mission to purge and claim vengeance on the person who took everything from him.
The setting is well used as the audience is seeing what happens on a larger scale, paranoia is setting in as behind every corner could be someone looking to kill simply because they can. Although Grillo is cast amazingly as the leader of the group, a man that choose his bullets carefully and his words even more so, it is unknown why Soul’s character bonds so well with him and tries to stop him completing his mission at the end. The group are fine with Grillo killing anyone that may hurt them but have a problem with him going after the one person who has hurt him. Gilford is unlucky in the fact that his character isn’t having the best luck with women and spends a lot of the film complaining. It’s hard in this to view him as anything other than Matt Saracen.
It can be viewed as a very political film, as opposed to the first, due to the rich being safe, whilst the poor are exploited and hunted until everything that they have is taken from them. In the opening scenes we witness Soul’s grandfather selling himself to a rich family for $100,000 because he is sick and the rich can buy people just to get what they want. Although this theme crops up at certain points during the film, by the ending the audience is left disappointed. Having hoped from the beginning that Grillo would prove to be the ‘bad guy’, the film instead chooses a conventional ending where everyone is happy. Well nearly everyone.
Edwin Hodge is the only person to reprise his role. Seen in the first film as the stranger that the Sandin’s save, this time he is working for the rich so that they can have fun with the poor. The part is only short and most viewers may have to view the film a second time to recognise him. This is primarily done so that the audience realises this film takes place a year later.
The idea of The Purge is one that can be used as much as Saw was with a new film emerging every year recounting the events that happen on Purge Night. Michael K. Williams is seen in the film as the leader of an anti-Purge resistance group trying to rally to people to fight back against the New Founding Fathers of America which could be expanded into another film on its own. The idea could potentially be used in all further sequels with him starring in the final movie when The Purge stops for good. Hopefully more Purge films will follow and it would interesting to see Grillo return for another outing.