The New Founding Fathers of the New America in the year 2022, decide that society needs a violent outlet in order to maintain order. For one night only per year, during a 12-hour period, there are no rules and no consequences for violent behavior of any extreme, including murder. Most of the wealthier members of society do not wish to take part in this night called “The Purge” and instead go into secured lock-down of their private beautiful mansions and try to ride out the night of danger and mayhem, without being harm while the outside world goes into complete chaos.
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Ethan Hawke, as the character James Sandin, is a very successful businessman who made a small fortune selling advanced home-security systems to his neighbors. His plan is to lock his home securely while the purge is going on. Unbeknownst to him, Henry (played by Tony Oller) who is the boyfriend of his daughter Zoey (played by Adelaide Kane) sneaks into his home and hides in his daughter's bedroom just before the lock-down and the purge begins. This guy is a juvenile delinquent that Mr. Sandin cannot stand. Soon after the purge begins, they confront each other in the house, firing on each other at gunpoint. Henry is fatally wounded by Mr. Sandin which causes the daughter to run off in the house to hide by herself.
Meanwhile, Sandin's young son, Charlie (played by Max Burkholder), sees a black guy who is severely injured (played by Edwin Hodge) outside the house and in sympathy for the man, who looks to be dying, Charlie turns the home-security system off to let him enter the house. After that, it is a cat and mouse game inside the house as Mr. Sandin and his family struggle with a threat that is now inside the house with them. Then a violent gang appears outside the house and they demand that the injured black man, that they were chasing, be given up to them to be killed.
The Sandins catch the black guy, tie him up, and consider turning the black guy over but cannot bring themselves to do it, so they try their best to fight off the gang that is outside the house. They lose the battle and the house security is breached. The violent gang enters the house bent on killing everyone that is inside, for the climatic ending.
Best part of story, including ending:
This film explores the depravity that could be possible if all societal rules of decency completely break down, even if only for 12 hours.
Best scene in story:
The best scene is when Mary (played by Lena Headey), the wife of James Sandin, finally reaches her limit and with incredible violence smashes her neighbor's head into a glass table.
Opinion about the main character:
The James Sandin character is pretty much a coward and does not have the situation under control at all. He is pretty weak when it comes to protecting his family and his wife is actually stronger mentally than he is.