For me, summer means hitting the theatre more often than I normally do. Since the days of wild summer partying are long gone, and it’s almost impossible to sync one’s own vacation with vacation of others, I find myself having some extra time before hitting the road. The fact that there are far less screaming youth in theatres these days (someone has to keep the party-world alive) isn’t something one should take lightly. The fact that program (at least in my town) is horrendous is another matter. The one I overlook every now and then. Even old fart like myself likes to remember the days of true cinema. Dark room, big screen, audio surround and special effects – none of which can be reproduced satisfactorily in home theaters (if you’re living on average salary that is). So, when it happens that I run into cool-looking poster in the hall, I manage to channel that kid inside me despite the voice of reason blabbering something about The Purge: Anarchy being a sequel to a movie I never watched. Sometimes, dudes with painted faces in what looks like a post-apocalyptic surrounding is all it takes.
The Purge: Anarchy has many problems, though we’ll talk about “few good men” first. I mentioned that I never laid eyes on the original Purge and the weird thing about it is that it never bothered me. This means that The Purge: Anarchy is structured as a complete story – which is a good thing, one should always write sequels like that – if there was a reference hidden somewhere, it seemed like it wasn’t necessary for anything other than a nod to the fans of the original. There were other good moves, especially the one of hyping painted dudes as super cool horror-villains just to invert the hype in crucial moment. This transition from implied brutality to shrewdness of street-cred entrepreneurs was beaut to look at. Unfortunately, that was the last of the good parts. Almost everything else is big pile of horseshit.
Starting with ridiculousness of the main premise (which states that legalizing crime for one day in a year somehow magically eradicates all crime throughout the rest of the year – I guess that sadists and various killers go to hibernation for the 364 remaining days), continuing with execution of drama and action-directing, and finishing with completely idiotic portrayal of rich folk. Now, I’m all in for “let’s bash the rich” poetics popular in the “critical media” these days (God knows that there are sins which need to be addressed) but I require some amount of sensibility and/or plausibility. Without any of this The Purge: Anarchy fails not just on literal level, it fails on metaphorical as well.
Let’s see how it’s done. Government-sponsored population control? Check. It’s relatively okay, mainly because it doesn’t take such a large portion of the movie. Everything is in allusions and rumors which play out nicely. Ritualistic family sacrifice? Check but what the fuck? Who does this? Let’s imagine that the premise of the movie is real. Can you honestly picture an entire family of Ivy-league Republicans killing a random guy just for the hell of it? Without a motive or any sort of reason? Sure, there are wackos out there, but bunch of wackos doesn’t represent anything other than bunch of wackos. Metaphor failed.
Hunting party for rich folks playing safari-games with poor folk? Check. This is done poorly as well. Now, on macro-structural level this happens all the time. Power tramples over those who lack it. On micro-structural level, once again we have bunch of wackos doing silly things. Silly in a way that if we draw a parallel to the safari excursions or hunting trips of 19th century nobility it doesn’t quite play as intended. Whether it is a safari, or a nobleman hunt, rich folk always hunted in masses, surrounded by lackeys just to avoid and danger that might come up. In the hunting setup of The Purge: Anarchy, rich folk indeed have every advantage (like weapons and night goggles for the darkened obstacle course) but the whole setup just isn’t safe enough. Aside from an occasional commando which can take untrained personnel one by one in any close combat scenario like it happened in the movie (true enough, though, commandos don’t show up that often), you can always expect to pick up few people who’ll refuse to roll over and die. Exertion of power is not quite as fun if it is possible to backfire. There goes our metaphor again.
This rant could go on and on. There is a ton of tidbits like these within the movie. Sine Purge was obviously intended as a series, one just has to wonder would it have worked better in the TV-show format. As a 100-minute feature film it is just too unfocused to be taken seriously. Or even as an entertainment.
|Directed by||James DeMonaco|
|Produced by||Jason Blum
|Written by||James DeMonaco|
Michael K. Williams
|Music by||Nathan Whitehead|
|Edited by||Todd E. Miller|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
Still in theathers, so no links. Pay for a movie once in a while 3:)