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The Purge

The Purge

USA 2013 - with Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Adelaide Kane, Max Burkholder ...

The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:

Movie info

Original title:The Purge
Genre:Thriller, Horror
Direction:James DeMonaco
Cinema release:13.06.2013
Production country:USA 2013
Running time:Approx. 85 min
Rated:Age 16+

After a devastating financial crisis, ever-growing unemployment and increasing violence, the US government has decided to make a complete reboot. As part of this, an annual campaign has been created where for 12 hours, all forms of crime are legal. Emergency calls will not be answered, police stations and hospitals will remain closed. For 12 hours, people have the opportunity to vent all their anger, dark thoughts and aggression without being legally prosecuted. Even murder goes unpunished. Those with the wherewithal can protect themselves during this period of purging in their homes with high-end security systems. Those who lack the money to do so are helpless against the bloodthirsty mob.

James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) isn't worried about that, sitting as a representative of expensive security systems virtually right at the source and able to offer his wife Mary (Lena Heady) and children Zoey (Adelaide Kane) and Charlie (Max Burkholder) only the best of the best. But even the highest quality security system is useless when human conscience takes over: when a hunted homeless man (Edwin Hodge) runs through the neighborhood desperately crying out for help, Charlie offers him shelter. And with that, the Sandins begin the longest 12 hours of their lives - 12 hours after which nothing will ever be the same again as it was before The Purge.

The dark vision of the future that is The Purge is based on a truly great idea, which James DeMonaco has executed in the best John Carpenter manner. In doing so, he continues the work he started with the screenplay for the Carpenter remake of Assault on Precinct 13. The siege of James Sandin and his family's home by a masked mob, led by the wonderfully nasty Tony Oller, has really effective moments of suspense, intensified by an atmosphere built up because of the oppressive basic idea. As much as this idea is riddled with logic holes, it really draws every viewer into the story. Because there probably won't be anyone who will ask themselves, at least in the first few minutes: How would I react if such a thing really existed?

However, even the best initial situation is ineffective if its execution is not right. And this is where the thriller's biggest weakness lies. While the story itself is thought-provoking, its execution is filled with plenty of clichés and an almost pervasive predictability. Again and again, the good approaches threaten to be completely buried underneath. Whether it's the conflict between James and his bitchy teenage daughter or the protagonists' behavior in particularly dicey situations, all of it seems taken straight out of the textbook for 08/15 suspense thrillers. This is a shame in that DeMonaco certainly shows at other moments that he can build nail-biting tension and offer surprises. But unfortunately such scenes are rather the exception in what ends up being a very ordinary horror thriller.

Neither the actors, nor the atmospheric camerawork can save much. So the good basic idea is both a curse and a blessing. On the one hand, it's the only thing that really makes the film worth watching. On the other hand, it raises expectations that simply can't be satisfied by the very ordinary production. So in the end, The Purge - The Purge is just a solid home invasion thriller, but it could have been so much more. For genre fans with cutbacks still worth seeing!

An article by Frankfurt-Tipp


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Cinema trailer for the movie "The Purge (USA 2013)"
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