x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

In cinemas: The Purge lays it on a bit thick

An intriguing set-up gives way to an explosion of extreme violence that some my find hard to stomach.

The Purge lays the nihilism on thickly. Universal Pictures
The Purge lays the nihilism on thickly. Universal Pictures

The Purge

Director: James DeMonaco

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder

***

In America 2022, the government has achieved a low crime rate and high employment by allowing citizens to go crazy one night a year. From 7pm to 7am, anyone can commit any crime.

The smug security systems salesman James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) and his family hunker down in their fortified home to sit out the violence. But it isn't long before they're drawn into the madness and must fight for their lives.

An intriguing set-up bristling with tension and provocative questions - is the purge really about catharsis or culling the poor? - gives way to an explosion of extreme and non-stop violence that some may find hard to stomach.

The director James DeMonaco clearly wants to say something about America today. It's a pity that he lays the nihilism on so thick.

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