Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Review: "The Purge: Anarchy" is Equal to its Predecessor

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 5 (of 2015) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Purge: Anarchy (2014)
Running time:  103 minutes (1 hour, 43 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong disturbing violence, and for language
DIRECTOR:  James DeMonaco
WRITER:  James DeMonaco (based on characters created by James DeMonaco)
PRODUCERS:  Michael Bay, Jason Blum, Andrew Form, Bradley Fuller, and Sebastien Lemercier
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Jacques Jouffret (D.o.P.)
EDITORS:  Vince Filippone and Todd E. Miller
COMPOSER:  Nathan Whitehead


Starring:  Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, Zoe Soul, Justina Machado, John Beasley, Jack Conley, Noel G., Michael K. Williams, Castulo Guerra, Roberta Valderrama, Niko Nicotera, and Edwin Hodge

The Purge: Anarchy is a 2014 science fiction film and crime thriller from writer-director James DeMonaco.  The film is a sequel to the 2013 film, The Purge.  Set in the near-future, The Purge: Anarchy focuses on a small band of people who are stranded on the night when violent crimes like murder and rape are legal and sanctioned by the American government.

The Purge: Anarchy is set in the United States of America in the year 2023.  Unemployment is below one percent.  Crime is virtually non-existent, and the number of people living below the poverty line is shrinking all the time.  How did this come to pass?  The powers-that-be would have people believe that this prosperity is the result of the event called “The Annual Purge,” when practically all criminal activity is legal.  Over a 12-hour period, Americans can rob, assault, rape, and murder each other and they will not face legal consequences.  This event, started by America’s “New Founding Fathers,” allows Americans to purge or vent negative emotions and repressed/violent urges.

The Purge: Anarchy opens on March 21, 2023 in Los Angeles, just hours before the Purge begins.  Eva (Carmen Ejogo) and her daughter, Cali (Zoe Soul), prepare for the chaos, as her terminally ill father, Papa Rico (John Beasley), decides to deal with the Purge in a different way.  Meanwhile, Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Sanchez), a young couple, travel by car, headed for Shane's sister, but they encounter car trouble along the way.  Meanwhile, the mysterious Sergeant (Frank Grillo) has his own unique plans for the Purge.  Soon, some of these people will find their fates intertwined, as they are left stranded and hunted as they try to find safe harbor.

Like its predecessor, The Purge: Anarchy is one of the most politically astute and socially relevant science fiction films to come around in years.  Also like the original, Anarchy is a thriller that makes goose flesh when it isn't causing breaths to catch.  The small band that the film follows are not exactly “the fellowship of the Purge,” but writer-director James DeMonaco offers such distinctive personalities.  Each character clearly has a goal or motivation that likely veers from the mutual cause of group safety, so someone doing something on his or her own is as much a threat to the group as are the people who are “purging.”

Anarchy is also a little subversive.  DeMonaco takes his criticism of the one-percent, the wealthy, and powerful to the next level.  In this new film, taking all the money isn't enough.  Now, the wealthy and powerful believe the poor owe them their very lives, as if the destitute and homeless exist to be devoured or at least exist to be playthings that the rich can destroy without concern of consequence.

The Purge: Anarchy is a sequel that not only does not disappoint, but it also meets the promise offered by the original film.  To the filmmakers, I say, “Let's keeping going!”

8 of 10

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

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