Saturday, July 2, 2016
THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR (2016)
Written & Directed By: James DeMonaco
Cinematography By: Jacques Jouffret
Editor: Todd E. Miller
Cast: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson, Kyle Secor, Joseph Julian Soria, Betty Gabriel, Edwin Hodge, Raymond J. Barry
It's been two years since Leo Barnes stopped himself from a regrettable act of revenge on Purge Night. Now serving as head of security for Senator Charlie Roan, his mission is to protect her in a run for president and survive the annual ritual that targets the poor and innocent. But when a betrayal forces them onto the streets of D.C. on the one night when no help is available, they must stay alive until dawn...or both be sacrificed for their sins against the state.
Now I can't call any of the films in the series profound. What you see is what you get with these films. So don't expect too much.
What I can appreciate about these films is that while they have the focus on the background of the same event. Each film seems to revolve around a different aspect of the yearly event. The first film seemed to revolve around a upper middle class families moral conflictions and the consequences of that decision that made the film into a home invasion thriller. That barely got political. The next film In the series more exposed up to the universe that the film set up and the sociological aspect. As well as dwelling on more the violence and imagination.
As it also seemed to focus more on urban characters and communities. While also staying an action film more or less with a kind of revenge tale and apocalyptic vision
This film more takes a look at the political landscape while Also keeping the action going.
These films sometimes make one question as they watch the films they have the feel.
Good moments where some good characters kill out of self defense as they have no other choice, but then the film makes the ones they do so unrepentant and because of that actually seem to get over killed. Leaving the audience nor the characters with any moral guilt or feeling any moral obligation which would be an interesting place for these films to go, but as these films are more marketed to urban audiences and aimed to be popcorn entertainment with some thoughts. They keep the formula rather simple.
Take for instance the teenage female characters. Who show no morals at all and come back for revenge and reveal the point of them ha I g no hearts at all so that they are set up As villains just not the main. Almost like henchmen who have to be taken out first before the main villains. Normally you could feel sorry for them but the film seems to go out of it's way to make them beyond evil. Though the film Also feels a bit exploitive by having them run around wearing revealing outfits. Figuring isn't that what young ladies do. Not a big point seems there more to exploit and maybe give a teenage audience something to stare at even if the film is Rated R.
What I appreciate that this film does is that it has actions but also has more of a story and characters then the second film had. It shows a visual inventiveness but also more structure than expected.
A character is brought in from a previous film to be a main character again. Which makes Frank Grillo look like the mascot or face of the series. His own franchise that he didn't start. Though also a supporting character who has been in each film finally gets a name as well as plenty of lines.
Edwin Hodge is the only actor to have appeared in all three Purge installments.
This film thankfully has other characters to fill in the gaps. That you actually care about them and their fates. They also fill in the commentary that the audience might feel.
The film also works as though it is exaggerated though feels similar to today's political landscape. Just but as extreme but could easily head there. As the villains are politicians who hide behind religion to push their agenda and are all Older Caucasians. While most of the victims seem to be more minorities or at least who are more affected in a negative way by it.
It does offer some commentary also with a dark sense of humor and some seriousness.
The first Purge film to be a direct story sequel, as it continues exploring the life of Frank Grillo's Sergeant Leo Barnes.
The film makes you question of deep down underneath there isn't some kind of statement about so called torture porn horror films. Of which this series of films has been accused of even though they play more like action thrillers. The level of violence and suspense causes them More to be labeled as a horror franchise to some. As this film dos have graphic violence but seems to curb it more than the previous films. It serves up the same sceneries but practices restraint to a degree. Getting the audience all revved up but then making them question the validity of the violent acts of some characters and scenes as well. Is it really worth it or as we watch it and some kids ht cheer are we as bad as the crowds in the film seeking to do violence to get it out of our systems. We might be normal and kindhearted but we go to these films for a kind of release or violent fantasies.
It's a film that entertained and makes you think to a degree. It also offers a ending for the series/franchise. While Also leaving open the possibility of a continuation of not a film at least more stories to be told in that universe and in your imagination.