The Purge

First slide

Set in a dystopian future America during the one night each year when any crime may be committed with impunity, writer-director James DeMonaco's thriller - a potentially challenging study of the conflict between lifeboat ethics and personal decency - degenerates into an orgy of the very violence it sets out to question. When the chosen target (Edwin Hodge) of a bloodthirsty mob (led by Rhys Wakefield) manages to take refuge in the home of a security specialist (Ethan Hawke), his presence threatens to bring the wrath of the gang down on the whole family (including wife Lena Headey and kids Max Burkholder and Adelaide Kane) unless they give the fugitive up to his pursuers. Inept social commentary - the victim is a homeless black veteran, the marauders are crazed preppies - and pointless religious overtones hobble the proceedings even before the gore goes off the charts.

Watch out for: Excessive graphic violence, including torture, a scene of underage sensuality, a few uses of profanity and of rough language, a couple of crass terms.

Rated: O, morally offensive; MPAA: R, restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2013