I’m a big fan of ‘The Purge’ film series, I think this Hunger Games for adults has a brilliant concept and one that can produce endless creativity in terms of its narratives. We’ve already had this throughout the series. The first film was a plain and simple home invasion whilst ‘The Purge: Anarchy’ showcased several stories on a much wider scale. The third installment in the story, ‘The Purge: Election Year’ is no different by giving the film it’s own identity and being rather topical in the process.
This film is set 19 years after the events of the first film, which I think is possibly a bit too much of a time jump considering some of the recurring characters but this isn’t too much of an issue really. The narrative leading up to the purge night itself has become a little too obvious though. The setting up of certain supporting characters who will play a part in the antics of the purge night just seemed a bit artificial. A few of these supporting characters are very over-exaggerated but again this is only really an issue until the purge night itself starts. This installment is certainly the most messed up of the series, with the purge activities being the most extreme audiences will have seen. Personally I think simplicity is better, and it’s why I enjoy the first film the most, I hope that if this series continues that it doesn’t feel that it needs to get bigger and better as a few moments in this film just went a little far I thought. However, just like it’s predecessors there is a good level of tension throughout the film. The audience never feels at ease and those looking for a good jump scare won’t be disappointed here.
Although the film certainly has its problems what I loved about ‘Election Year’ was its politics. The unique aspect of this film is that there is a presidential candidate who aims to dismantle the purge. With this comes many discussions about the morality of the whole situation and how the government benefit from this night whilst others suffer. Bringing back more of the ethical element to the film, much like the first, was brilliant and made the film much more engaging. All I will say is that this element doesn’t quite reach its full potential, especially in the aftermath of the purge night. I would have liked to have seen a more drawn out conclusion to the film incorporating more of the events of the film. Politics aside other than the supporting characters that I have mentioned the main cast are good here. Elizabeth Mitchell plays the senator running for Presidency, she has a surprisingly fleshed out character for a film like this and she’s good in the role. Frank Grillo returns as Leo Barnes and is as badass as ever, I liked the natural progression for his character here. As well reprising his role is Edwin Hodge, now credited as Dante Bishop, a leader of the resistance to the purge. I liked the continuity of having this character in all three movies and he gets a much bigger role than in the previous film which was a welcomed change. I have to quickly mention the creativity within the costume and production design too as I really liked the look of a lot of the film especially the more patriotic costumes on show!
So although ‘The Purge: Election Year’ takes a step backwards in terms of it’s lead up to purge night and some of the antics included it takes a massive step forwards by including the engaging political element. The main cast members do well to move the tension filled narrative along and the creativity shown should be praised too. ‘Election Year’ will have to fight it out with ‘Anarchy’ for second spot as ‘The Purge’ is still my favourite of the series, but the political themes running through ‘Election Year’ probably give it the edge over ‘Anarchy’ making it that bit more memorable. Fans of the series should enjoy this and cinema fans looking for some cheap scares but the more casual film goer will undoubtedly have more issues with the flaws present.
Rating – 7/10
Question: What storylines would you like to see explored in any future Purge movies
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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