Review: The Purge: Anarchy

Square

In 2013, “The Purge” proved a surprised hit at the cinema, taking in over $34,000,000 at the box office during its opening weekend alone. Fast forward a year and the sequel, “The Purge: Anarchy”, is now in cinemas.

Once again, the plot is centred on the “Purge” – an annual 12-hour-long event in which all crime (including theft, rape and murder) is completely legal. The only rules are that government officials ranking 10 or higher must remain unharmed and the usage of weaponry above Class 4 is forbidden.

Rather than staying at home to download every episode of “Game of Thrones” from Pirate Bay, gangs and psychopaths take to the streets to kill and cause mayhem. However, young couple Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Sanchez) are stranded in the midst of it all after their car is damaged.

Similarly, mother and daughter Eva (Carmen Ejogo) and Cali (Zoe Soul) are hounded out of their house. It’s up to them, along with lone wolf Leo (Frank Grillo), to survive the night. The combination of the three stories adds real depth and dimension to the film, something its predecessor lacked.

Further adding to the depth and dimension of the film is the underlying tones embedded into the script, tackling issues such as society’s rich/poor divide, human nature and the government’s views on poverty. Whereas the casual viewer may overlook such themes, it’s a nice touch that separates the film from others in the genre.

Another feature of The Purge: Anarchy which should be commended is the way in which it manages to truly immerse viewers into the atmosphere of the deserted streets. There’s a real sense of paranoia as the group approach each street corner, not knowing what challenges they face next. It’s this engagement which keeps viewers glued to the screen for the film’s entirety.

Nevertheless, this could have been hugely improved upon if the acting wasn’t unconvincing. With the exception of Leo, whose passion and determination is evident throughout his character’s development, the remaining four characters fail to portray any compelling emotion and they are incredibly forgettable.