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Hammerle on … 'The East,' 'The Purge'

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bob hammerle movie reviewsThe East

“The East” is one of those wonderful films that you should not let escape the theater. While it won’t appeal to everyone, it is a powerful film that embodies the memorable words of Peter Finch in his Oscar-winning performance in “Network” (1976), when he stated, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more!”
Director Zal Batmanglij’s movie focuses on an intriguing group of domestic terrorists dedicated to holding American corporations accountable for their profound excesses. For example, one of their public mottos is, “You poison us, we’ll poison you.”

You come to admire them despite the 

fact that they freely violate the law. How can you not embrace this cluster of rogues who simply want to ensure that industrial companies that pollute our rivers and streams pay for their public sins? Can it really be kidnapping to force the CEO of an oil refinery that has been secretly dumping hazardous wastewater – threatening the health of working people living nearby – to literally swim in their polluted waters?rate-east
In an attempt to infiltrate our anarchist group, an intelligence firm headed by the cryptic Patricia Clarkson sends an operative played by Brit Marling to work undercover. Marling’s operative is tremendous as a young woman whose initial condemnation of the group mutates as she begins to identify with its members. Her confusion deepens with her personal attraction to the head of the group, a young man powerfully played by Alexander Skarsgard. Far from a self-righteous thug, he is dedicated to risking his life for the cause.

Also standing out is Toby Kebbell, playing a former doctor who is physically and emotionally scarred from the hidden side-effects of a popular pharmaceutical drug. For him, it is time to settle a score with the leaders of the responsible drug company in one of the most searing sequences of the film.

But it is the performance of Ellen Page that reaches up and grabs you by the throat. Playing a young woman known as Izzy, she memorably fights to get even with her wealthy father, leading to profound tragedy. If you doubt Ms. Page’s talents, think of her as the girl with the bad attitude in “Hard Candy” (2000); the nasty little Kitty Pryde in “X-Men: The Last Stand” (2006); her knockout role as the pregnant young girl in “Juno” (2007); the kick-ass rollerblader in “Whip It” (2009); her contribution to the great success of “Inception” (2010), and her endearing portrayal of the foolish fake super hero known as Boltie in “Super” (2010). This native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, is a human work of art.

Finally, 2013 has brought us a series of interesting films that are co-written by actresses who then appear on screen. Much like Greta Gerwig did in the delightful “Frances Ha” and Julie Delpy again accomplished in “Before Midnight,” Ms. Marling breathes life into her own script. These women have helped to create stories that give an exciting, edgy nuance to their gender, and movie audiences benefit as a result.

The Purge

“The Purge” is a slashing exposé of political thought in this country masquerading as a futuristic sci-fi/horror film. In what appears to be a rehash of prior films involving a family under siege in their own home, writer/director James DeMonaco lays waste to Tea Party proponents and their conservative acolytes. It’s a human recreation of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” (1945).

As everyone knows, the daily mantra heard in the House of Representatives in Washington as well as on Fox News is the need to cut the national deficit. While supporters embrace using taxpayer money to remodel luxury suites at the Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium, they cry out to reduce Social Security and Medicare payments to our aging population. They won’t dare allow any reasonable changes in our gun laws, but they embrace slashing food stamps for our hungry children.

What Mr. DeMonaco has done with “The Purge” is create a future America in 2022 that embodies the Tea Party philosophy to the extreme. Modern day Founding Fathers are applauded for reducing crime and public expenditure by creating a 12-hour period every year in March when no laws apply to anything. In other words, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., you can kill, maim and rob at your leisure.

On the surface, the film involves the family of home security salesman James Sandin who pay the price for kindness. Though they and other well-to-do Americans are able to secure their property in a fashion that makes them nearly completely safe, Mr. Sandin’s son permits a besieged black man to enter their home to avoid impending death. The question concerns whether the stranger truly is in dire need, or was he simply using a ruse to kill the family?
rate-purge
Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey play the Sandins, and they do a superb job of embracing the consequences of a society that has turned upside down. They soon find their house under siege by a group of intriguing killers who only want the wealthy Sandins to turn over their seemingly homeless refugee or pay the consequences.

What follows is a ghastly ordeal for the Sandins. In effect, what “The Purge” represents is the United States twisting the Tea Party’s demand to reduce food stamp payments by simply killing the poor and unemployed.

The public and news media are seen praising a country for recognizing the need to eliminate the homeless begging on every street corner when not in prison, not to mention constantly living on the public dole. Since none of them have the financial means to secure their safety during the purge, why not wipe out as many as possible during a 12-hour period every year?

In “The Purge” we see the results of a horrific national policy that reduces the need to care for the poor, the elderly and the dispossessed. If the government doesn’t care if they suffer, why worry if they die?

The problem for the Sandins becomes a problem for all of us. If you try to act in the name of heaven, don’t you then become as expendable as those desperate people on the run?•

__________

Robert Hammerle practices criminal law in Indianapolis. When he is not in the courtroom or working diligently in his Pennsylvania Street office, Bob can likely be found at one of his favorite movie theaters watching and preparing to review the latest films. To read more of his reviews, visit www.bigmouthbobs.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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  1. One can only wonder whether Mr. Kimmel was paid for his work by Mr. Burgh ... or whether that bill fell to the citizens of Indiana, many of whom cannot afford attorneys for important matters. It really doesn't take a judge(s) to know that "pavement" can be considered a deadly weapon. It only takes a brain and some education or thought. I'm glad to see the conviction was upheld although sorry to see that the asphalt could even be considered "an issue".

  2. In response to bryanjbrown: thank you for your comment. I am familiar with Paul Ogden (and applaud his assistance to Shirley Justice) and have read of Gary Welsh's (strange) death (and have visited his blog on many occasions). I am not familiar with you (yet). I lived in Kosciusko county, where the sheriff was just removed after pleading in what seems a very "sweetheart" deal. Unfortunately, something NEEDS to change since the attorneys won't (en masse) stand up for ethics (rather making a show to please the "rules" and apparently the judges). I read that many attorneys are underemployed. Seems wisdom would be to cull the herd and get rid of the rotting apples in practice and on the bench, for everyone's sake as well as justice. I'd like to file an attorney complaint, but I have little faith in anything (other than the most flagrant and obvious) resulting in action. My own belief is that if this was medicine, there'd be maimed and injured all over and the carnage caused by "the profession" would be difficult to hide. One can dream ... meanwhile, back to figuring out to file a pro se "motion to dismiss" as well as another court required paper that Indiana is so fond of providing NO resources for (unlike many other states, who don't automatically assume that citizens involved in the court process are scumbags) so that maybe I can get the family law attorney - whose work left me with no settlement, no possessions and resulted in the death of two pets (etc ad nauseum) - to stop abusing the proceedings supplemental and small claims rules and using it as a vehicle for harassment and apparently, amusement.

  3. Been on social security sense sept 2011 2massive strokes open heart surgery and serious ovarian cancer and a blood clot in my lung all in 14 months. Got a letter in may saying that i didn't qualify and it was in form like i just applied ,called social security she said it don't make sense and you are still geting a check in june and i did ,now i get a check from my part D asking for payment for july because there will be no money for my membership, call my prescription coverage part D and confirmed no check will be there.went to social security they didn't want to answer whats going on just said i should of never been on it .no one knows where this letter came from was California im in virginia and been here sense my strokes and vcu filed for my disability i was in the hospital when they did it .It's like it was a error . My ,mothers social security was being handled in that office in California my sister was dealing with it and it had my social security number because she died last year and this letter came out of the same office and it came at the same time i got the letter for my mother benefits for death and they had the same date of being typed just one was on the mail Saturday and one on Monday. . I think it's a mistake and it should been fixed instead there just getting rid of me .i never got a formal letter saying when i was being tsken off.

  4. Employers should not have racially discriminating mind set. It has huge impact on the society what the big players do or don't do in the industry. Background check is conducted just to verify whether information provided by the prospective employee is correct or not. It doesn't have any direct combination with the rejection of the employees. If there is rejection, there should be something effective and full-proof things on the table that may keep the company or the people associated with it in jeopardy.

  5. Unlike the federal judge who refused to protect me, the Virginia State Bar gave me a hearing. After the hearing, the Virginia State Bar refused to discipline me. VSB said that attacking me with the court ADA coordinator had, " all the grace and charm of a drive-by shooting." One does wonder why the VSB was able to have a hearing and come to that conclusion, but the federal judge in Indiana slammed the door of the courthouse in my face.

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