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“The First Purge” Testing Anger Management





Review by John Delia

Continuing with their franchise, the producers of The Purge bring you the beginning of the free to kill program with The First Purge. There’s no reason given for needing to show how it all started, because if you have seen any of the other three, the idea is mentioned offhandedly in each one. In this episode the mayhem, savagery and killing continue at a fast pace until the siren gets blown after 12 hours.

The country has set up a division called New Founding Fathers of America to experiment on correcting anger issues in people before they get to the point of dangerous. Heading up the department is Chief of Staff Arlo Sabian (Patch Darragh) assisted by the designer of the idea of anger correction Dr. May Updale (Marisa Tomei). Together they will monitor the plan to allow residents of Statin Island, the experimental area, to stay in their homes for a numeration of $5000. Others will be allowed to flee the island for safety.

Lex Scott Davis as Nya in THE FIRST PURGE

Those that sign up to be the anger experiment will be allowed to commit any crime that will please them including murder without reprisal by the police within the “killing” period. They have set up a bonus to anger prone participants for each kill and major crime. When the experiment starts to fail, Sabian sets up a new strategy that’s tantamount to genocide.

Y’lan Noel as Dimitri in THE FIRST PURGE

This is the first Purge since the beginning for Director Gerald Murray who takes over for previous filmmaker James DeMonaco. The only positive to this is that the screenplay was also written by DeMonaco who wrote the first three. Having only one film prior as director (Burning Sands) under his belt, I’m pleasantly surprised at the quality of the production. Just as intimidating and vicious, Murray continues the carnage, but in a much broader way. He takes on an apartment building as his main attack and then brings in a brigade of killing machines including the KKK, mercenaries and dangerous biker groups.

As for the acting, stand out Lex Scott Davis as Nya gives a good performance as leader of the people who are against the experiment. When she gets caught up in the melee because her brother Isaiah (Y’lan Noel) joins the purge looking for revenge, its hell and damnation for those who try to stop her mission to save him. I think we have found a future thriller actress in Davis and I look forward to seeing her again on the big screen.

Arlo Sabian (Patch Darragh) and The Architect (Marisa Tomei) over see the experiment on cameras in THE FIRST PURGE

Although the film does not purport to be political, the message is very clear that certain ethnic groups and races are depicted as “lab rats” in the experiment. It’s a cruel statement and even gets worse when the element of reducing the population comes into play. It brings the inacceptable suggestion of genocide to mind. Not an element I expected, it’s shocking that it would even be added to the film.

The First Purge has been rated R for strong disturbing violence throughout, pervasive language, some sexuality and drug use. Please be cautioned when deciding whether immature children should see the film.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A good production, but the film loses its grip in the third act. (1 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Y’lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Mugga, Marissa Tomei, Patch Darragh
Directed by: Gerald Murray
Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-fi
MPAA Rating: R for strong disturbing violence throughout, pervasive language, some sexuality and drug use
Running Time: 1 hr. 37 min.
Opening Date: July 13, 2018
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Released in: Standard Format

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