James DeMonaco’s follow up to his 2013 film The Purge, the second instalment of the dystopian crime thriller, gives us what we wanted that lacked in the first, venturing out into the streets and taking us right into the realities of citizens annual purge. The Purge: Anarchy is based on the same premise as The Purge in that every year crime is legal for twelve hours (7pm-7am) and citizens are encouraged to ‘purge’ and fulfil any needs they want, with murder seeming somewhat popular. The film, much like the first, concentrates on the class divide and plays a major part of the purging process.
On the surface, the film is thrilling and keeps us on the edge of our seats. Set across the entire city, the plot has more room to breathe than the first, which was kept within the confines of a family home, giving the characters the ability to run away and into the wild. With this, we are left with a pretty thin plot and few characters to emotionally invest in. You have your typical leader Leo (Frank Grillo), a mother (Carmen Ejogo) and daughter (Zoe Soul), both under Leo’s seemingly reluctant protection, and a couple (Zach Gilford and Kate Sanchez), the typical horror stereotype, whose relationship is in turmoil yet they are brought back together during their night of terror, realising how much they don’t want to lose one another.
The strongest performance comes from Frank Grillo, with some serious lackluster performances from the other members of the ensemble. Grillo plays the brooding and reluctant leader well, with his revenge subplot being kept under wraps until the climax of the film, driving not only the group but the narrative too.
With the film edging on the same genre as films like The Hunger Games and Divergent with its dystopian themes, it’s hard not to notice plot points and devices that almost seem lifted from these films, particularly The Hunger Games. With the characters being led into an arena to be victims of a group of upper class purgers while others watch on, we might think we’re watching the next instalment of The Hunger Games franchise as opposed to a Purge sequel.
Overall, The Purge: Anarchy is a step up from the original, giving us an insight into an entire cities’ purging processes and the rebellions against the sadistic annual culling set up by government. It is your basic action thriller, severely more anarchic than its predecessor as its title would suggest.
What did you think of The Purge: Anarchy?
Comment with your thoughts.