- Written and Directed by James DeMonaco
- July 18, 2014
Three disparate groups of people’s lives intersect on Purge Night and now they must survive on the streets.
Something that I need to bring up before beginning is that The Purge movies make enough money to justify sequels which makes me think that a portion of the population might be OK with this idea. After all people are vicariously experiencing what a Purge could be like when they watch these movies. Anyway…
The Purge: Anarchy was an improvement over the original. Then again this movie had Frank Grillo in it and he is kind of like bacon-he makes everything better. He is a good actor with that tough, grizzled exterior that can deliver drama and action and this film contains both.
Interestingly Frank Grillo’s character spends most of the movie unnamed. In fact, the closest his character comes to being named is a rank (sergeant) that he is addressed by in the closing moments of the film. Other than that we get nothing.
Little is revealed about “Sergeant” during the course of the movie other than he is seeking revenge on someone during Purge Night. He is framed as a damaged person who feels this revenge is his only real option. You fill in theb gaps with your own imagination.
Sergeant also spends some screen time with Eva (Carmen Ejogo) and Cali Sanchez (Zoë Soul) a mother and daughter whose father (John Beasley) gives himself over to a rich family for a fee on Purge Night so that his daughter and granddaughter can have some money. There is also a young couple, Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Sanchez) who are a couple in real life, who are separating who get caught up in events on the streets because their car is sabotaged.
While the last film focused on a rich family, this one focuses on the poor and how the odds during the Purge are stacked against them on purpose. It brings into focus how the Purge is not about purifying the soul of the nation but is really just a way for the government to reduce the poor population and by default move the wealth upwards and that touches on feelings some have about society currently.
It is a great survive-the-night story with plenty of shocks. It is revealed there is a mysterious militarized faction moving around in semi-trucks. It turns out that the government does not feel that enough people are Purging so the NFFA (New Founding Fathers of America) have to up the numbers.
There are even people who use the Purge as a money-making opportunity by collecting stragglers that manage to survive and handing them over to rich individuals that desire to hunt them in controlled environments (thus the sabotage of the couple’s car).
The environment is tense throughout and the action shocking. There is a sense of danger during the film because you do not know who of the people they encounter might be interested in Purging or who might survive. We learn eventually Sergeant himself is out to avenge the death of his son the prior year but instead he chooses to stop and help the mother and daughter for reasons even he is not quite sure of at first. In that aspect the movie gets to finding humanity in the worst of situations.
The Purge: Anarchy is definitely about the haves and the have nots. The theme could be taken as the rich are stealing from the poor and that the poor will rise up and not take it anymore. There is a faction in this film of poor individuals that are fighting back against wealthy individuals. Lead by a Youtube political activist called Carmelo Johns (Michael K. Williams), they have armed themselves and have taken to the streets on the Purge to strike at the rich that are hunting the poor.
The only flaw of this movie is that while it COULD make a more direct statement it fails to do so yet feels like it wishes to make one. It has something to say and sets itself up to say something but instead mumbles a little and moves on. It does not hurt the story. It is just a missed opportunity.
The Purge: Anarchy is a good continuation and expansion of the concepts introduced in the first film. It is definitely a worthy follow up. If you like the first one you will like this one so watch it!