God bless America, The Purge: Election Year is directed by James DeMonaco and returns us to the fictional world and near future of the US run by the founding fathers as a presidential hopeful aims to abolish the purge for good but is targeted by the very people who brought the tradition to the American people, the film stars Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson.
Who would have thought a series like The Purge would have one – kept going and two – actually get sort of interesting, traditions are continued as the overall story is, with Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) now working security detail for presidential candidate Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), both characters having been adversely affected by the purge, Leo especially as we saw in The Purge: Anarchy. Things are bigger now, following the trend of the series in general, The Purge exploring a night of purging affecting a particular family, Anarchy exploring purging affecting groups of people and deeper reasons for the tradition, Election Year takes a look at the peoples view of the purge, from certain people in the population, to the powers that be.
Don’t get me wrong, Election Year really isn’t that deep but the themes and ideas that it touches on sort of are and they’re a lot more interesting than the core plot of the film itself, things are still in the same style of the series with hyper violent crazies populating the streets and going out to purge, the dialogue is laughable at times and as over the top as the idea of purging itself. Which is a shame as there are decent elements to the film and the bad writing does take you out of it, in a film that seems to be caught between wanting to entertain and be taken somewhat seriously, slightly satirizing the current exaggerated and circus like state of American politics to the highest degree. We also get some interesting imagery – and we have through all of The Purge films of purgers of all types donning masks as they go about their business, these people are crazy but looking at why they do what they do may have been more interesting.
The plot is fairly predictable but for what its worth, it is one of the more interesting ones from the series, with some decent action sequences and a some good leads, Grillo is again brilliant as Leo Barnes and totally believable as someone you’d want to trust your life with, while Elizabeth Mitchell also does well in her role and fits the profile of her characters. The other characters do feel a bit like copies of some we saw in Anarchy and don’t bring much to the plate, though we do get to see the existence of other factions that are anti-purge and have plans of their own. Things do sort of go through the motions and feel tropey, though you may have come to expect in thrillers like this relating to character actions, twists and suspenseful moments, such things are to be expected but it is a bit boring to see them coming.
And well, there really isn’t that much else to say about Election Year, it’s a decent enough popcorn thriller with an interesting core concept that expands on the two previous Purge films but not to any meaningful interesting depth but that’s okay as that wasn’t really to be expected from the film.
. Good casting, Grillo is great
. Shallow exploration of themes over generic thriller template
. Predictable plot