The Forever Purge – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Everardo Valerio Gout
Starring: Ana de la Reguera, Tenoch Huerta, Josh Lucas, Cassidy Freeman, Leven Rambin, Alejandro Edda, Will Patton
In Cinemas Now
As you’ve probably guessed from the title, this movie is part of The Purge franchise – the fifth in fact. And a direct sequel to 2016’s The Purge: Election Year. This was originally supposed to be released last summer but was delayed due to CoVid. And it somewhat shows in the political themes. Much like last year’s The Hunt, there is commentary on immigration and white supremacy, but in the absence of a certain former American president spouting rhetoric, and with everything else going on in the world at the moment, it loses much of its intended impact.
If you’re familiar with the concept (and it’s unlikely you are coming back for a fifth instalment if you aren’t) in not too distant future in America, once a year there is a Purge where citizens are allowed to be lawless for one night without consequence. However, following the annual reign of terror, a group of dissidents decide that this should be an ongoing thing, the Forever Purge, and start killing anyone they consider non-American and overthrowing the wealthy. This leads to frantic attempts to escape the United States as the Purgers do their best to eradicate and overthrow those they consider inferior to them.
The political commentary is impossible to avoid here. In case you miss it, the characters frequently reference it commenting on their attitudes towards other races. While this is very worthy, it comes at the expense of any real character development so what you get is non-rounded characters reeling off their opinions.
Interestingly, America saw riots similar to those depicted here after a certain person lost an Election so watching this now it doesn’t feel nearly as original as it may have was it released when intended. To be fair there is little they could portray here to actually surprise or shock us.
The actors do their best but the focus here is very much on the “message” rather than the story and they don’t have a lot of background to work with. The action scenes are impressive, as you’d expect, but there is definitely a feeling that this idea, which felt so original when the first instalment came out in 2013, is now a bit jaded thanks to copycats and world events.
This never really engages with its ideas and feels like a franchise running out of steam (although there is a sixth offering planned). Perhaps because we’ve all had so much to deal with in the last couple of years, this never feels relatable or relevant.