The First Purge

The First Purge

2018, R, 112 min. Directed by Gerard McMurray. Starring Y'lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Luna Lauren Velez, Marisa Tomei, Aaron V. Williamson, Chyna Layne, Patch Darragh, Melonie Diaz.

REVIEWED By Richard Whittaker, Fri., July 6, 2018

Let's face facts: The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the movie franchise we want. The Purge is the one we deserve. The 2013 original was a hand grenade rolled under the door, a stealthily political (and, in hindsight, unnervingly prescient) metaphor for middle-class compliance in an era of mob rule. The second film, 2014's The Purge: Anarchy asked why otherwise upright citizens would take advantage of this ghoulish endeavor; then 2016's The Purge: Election Year looked straight in the eyes of the theocrats, plutocrats, and oligarchs who would benefit from mass murder.

The key to the series' success was always that it never seemed implausibly far from where America is now. The question is, what was the push? How do you convince a civilized nation to indulge in 12 hours of utter lawlessness, once a year? Well, as shown in The First Purge, it's the experiment, as devised by Dr. May Updale (Tomei), a deranged sociological field research program based on the idea that, if people can just burn out all their anger, they will become law-abiding citizens (and what's a few thousand dead bodies as the cost of a stable society, right?). But even the populist political force New American Founding Fathers can't get this craziness off the ground without convincing the American public (read: the white middle America of the first film), so they organize a test run on Staten Island. Some residents leap at the chance to participate in another paid clinical trial – five grand is five grand, after all. Some treat it like Mardi Gras with even fewer cops. Some, like street corner dealer Isaiah (Wade), see it as a time to get even with no consequences. Yet many are more wisely leery, like Isaiah's sister, community organizer Nya (Davis), and ex-soldier turned drug lord Dmitri (Noel), who doesn't trust anything he doesn't understand.

For the first time, series creator James DeMonaco steps aside from the director's chair. Those duties are handed off to Fruitvale Station producer Gerard McMurray, who dealt with similar themes of complicity in his directorial debut, college hazing drama Burning Sands. That means DeMonaco could concentrate on his script, which is no less unflinchingly polemical as the earlier films. Notoriously parsimonious producer Jason Blum also opened up the infamously tight Blumhouse purse strings a little bit for the latest cinematic installment in the franchise, before it makes the leap to TV this fall. Still, for a studio action flick, this is run-and-gun cinema, and McMurray makes every penny count, not least by emulating DeMonaco's trick of showing greater horrors and other people's purges in quick shots, or as protagonists pass by. That said, he doesn't have DeMonaco's deft hand balancing action, horror, and political rhetoric, and supporting characters tend to disappear and reappear when convenient for the plot.

Yet he still delivers a chilling allegory, filled with equal quantities of violent frights and stomach-churning visual metaphor. So four episodes in, and The Purge franchise is as nakedly provocative as ever. In its attacks on scarcely disguised racist and classist policies, and on bad science in the service of worse politics, in its evocations of Blackwater in New Orleans, agent provocateurs, the power of hopelessness, the normalization of extremism, and its crowd-pleasing warning about the easy path to fascism, The First Purge pulls no punches. Like Childish Gambino said, this is America.

Showtimes

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 South Capital of Texas Hwy, 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Sat., July 21

CC/DVS 10:40
CC/DVS, recliners, reserved seating 10:40

Sun., July 22

CC/DVS 10:40
CC/DVS, recliners, reserved seating 10:40

Mon., July 23

CC/DVS 7:50
CC/DVS, recliners, reserved seating 7:50

Tue., July 24

CC/DVS 7:50
CC/DVS, recliners, reserved seating 7:50

Wed., July 25

CC/DVS 7:50
CC/DVS, recliners, reserved seating 7:50

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Sat., July 21

digital 11:05am, 1:45, 4:25, 7:05, 9:45
digital, luxury lounger 11:05am, 1:45, 4:25, 7:05, 9:45

Sun., July 22

digital 11:05am, 1:45, 4:25, 7:05, 9:45
digital, luxury lounger 11:05am, 1:45, 4:25, 7:05, 9:45

Mon., July 23

digital 11:05am, 1:45, 4:25, 7:05, 9:45
digital, luxury lounger 11:05am, 1:45, 4:25, 7:05, 9:45

Tue., July 24

digital 10:05am, 12:45, 3:25, 7:05, 9:45
digital, luxury lounger 10:05am, 12:45, 3:25, 7:05, 9:45

Wed., July 25

digital 11:05am, 1:45, 4:25, 7:05, 9:45
digital, luxury lounger 11:05am, 1:45, 4:25, 7:05, 9:45

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Sat., July 21

digital 11:00am, 4:20, 7:00, 9:40
digital, luxury lounger 11:00am, 1:40, 4:20, 7:00, 9:40

Sun., July 22

digital 11:00am, 4:20, 7:00, 9:40
digital, luxury lounger 11:00am, 1:40, 4:20, 7:00, 9:40

Mon., July 23

digital 11:00am, 1:40, 4:20, 7:00, 9:40
digital, luxury lounger 11:00am, 1:40, 4:20, 7:00, 9:40

Tue., July 24

digital 11:00am, 1:40, 4:20, 7:00, 9:40
digital, luxury lounger 11:00am, 1:40, 4:20, 7:00, 9:40

Wed., July 25

digital 11:00am, 1:40, 4:20, 7:00, 9:40
digital, luxury lounger 11:00am, 1:40, 4:20, 7:00, 9:40

Thu., July 26

digital 11:00am, 1:40, 4:20
digital, luxury lounger 11:00am, 1:40, 4:20

Sat., July 21

digital 10:35
digital, luxury lounger 10:35

Sun., July 22

digital 10:35
digital, luxury lounger 10:35

Mon., July 23

digital 10:35
digital, luxury lounger 10:35

Tue., July 24

digital 10:35
digital, luxury lounger 10:35

Wed., July 25

digital 10:35
digital, luxury lounger 10:35

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Sat., July 21

digital 12:15, 2:50, 5:25, 8:00, 10:35
digital, luxury lounger 12:15, 2:50, 5:25, 8:00, 10:35

Sun., July 22

digital 12:15, 2:50, 5:25, 8:00, 10:35
digital, luxury lounger 12:15, 2:50, 5:25, 8:00, 10:35

Mon., July 23

digital 12:15, 2:50, 5:25, 8:00, 10:35
digital, luxury lounger 12:15, 2:50, 5:25, 8:00, 10:35

Tue., July 24

digital 12:15, 2:50, 5:25, 8:00, 10:35
digital, luxury lounger 12:15, 2:50, 5:25, 8:00, 10:35

Wed., July 25

digital 12:15, 2:50, 5:25, 8:00, 10:35
digital, luxury lounger 12:15, 2:50, 5:25, 8:00, 10:35

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sat., July 21

digital 10:00am, 12:25, 2:55, 5:25, 7:50, 10:20
digital, luxury lounger 10:00am, 12:25, 2:55, 5:25, 7:50, 10:20

Sun., July 22

digital 10:00am, 12:25, 2:55, 5:25, 7:50, 10:20
digital, luxury lounger 10:00am, 12:25, 2:55, 5:25, 7:50, 10:20

Mon., July 23

digital 10:00am, 12:25, 2:55, 5:25, 7:50, 10:20
digital, luxury lounger 10:00am, 12:25, 2:55, 5:25, 7:50, 10:20

Tue., July 24

digital 10:00am, 12:25, 2:55, 5:25, 7:50, 10:20
digital, luxury lounger 10:00am, 12:25, 2:55, 5:25, 7:50, 10:20

Wed., July 25

digital 10:00am, 12:25, 2:55, 5:25, 7:50, 10:20
digital, luxury lounger 10:00am, 12:25, 2:55, 5:25, 7:50, 10:20

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Sat., July 21

10:45am, 1:55, 4:50, 7:45, 10:20

Sun., July 22

4:50, 7:45, 10:20

Mon., July 23

10:45am, 1:55, 4:50, 7:45, 10:20

Tue., July 24

10:45am, 1:55, 4:50, 7:45, 10:20

Wed., July 25

10:45am, 1:55, 4:50, 7:45, 10:20

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Sat., July 21

1:10, 3:35, 6:00, 11:00

Sun., July 22

4:15, 9:40

Mon., July 23

1:10, 3:35, 10:00

Tue., July 24

1:10, 3:35, 6:00, 11:00

Wed., July 25

1:10, 3:35, 10:45

AMC Lakeline 9

11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, 512/335-4793

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Sat., July 21

CC/DVS 10:20
CC/DVS, recliners, reserved seating 10:20

Sun., July 22

CC/DVS 10:20
CC/DVS, recliners, reserved seating 10:20

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sat., July 21

CC/DVS 12:00, 2:45, 5:25, 8:05, 10:45

Sun., July 22

CC/DVS 12:00, 2:45, 5:25, 8:05, 10:45

Mon., July 23

CC/DVS 12:00, 2:45, 5:25, 8:05, 10:45

Tue., July 24

CC/DVS 12:00, 2:45, 5:25, 8:05, 10:45

Wed., July 25

CC/DVS 12:00, 2:45, 5:25, 8:05, 10:45

Thu., July 26

CC/DVS 12:00, 2:45, 5:25, 8:05, 10:45

Schulman Theatres Lost Pines 8

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, www.schulmantheatres.com

Sat., July 21

10:15am, 1:20, 4:15, 7:35, 10:15

Sun., July 22

10:15am, 1:20, 4:15, 7:35, 10:15

Mon., July 23

10:15am, 1:20, 4:15, 7:35, 10:15

Tue., July 24

1:20, 4:15, 7:35, 10:15

Wed., July 25

10:15am, 1:20, 4:15, 7:35, 10:15

ShowBiz Cinemas 8 Marble Falls

2600 Hwy 281 North, Marble Falls

Call theatre for August 22-23 showtimes.

Sat., July 21

11:20am, 2:15, 4:45, 7:45, 10:10

Sun., July 22

10:50am, 5:15, 10:25

Mon., July 23

11:20am, 2:15, 4:45, 7:45, 10:10

Tue., July 24

11:20am, 2:15, 4:45, 7:45, 10:10

Wed., July 25

10:50am, 5:15, 10:25

Starplex 12 San Marcos

1250 Wonder World Drive, San Marcos, 512/805-8000

Sat., July 21

12:00, 2:35, 5:20, 8:00, 10:35

Sun., July 22

12:00, 2:35, 5:20, 8:00, 10:35

Mon., July 23

12:00, 2:35, 5:20, 8:00, 10:35

Tue., July 24

12:00, 2:35, 5:20, 8:00, 10:35

Wed., July 25

12:00, 2:35, 5:20, 8:00, 10:35

Thu., July 26

12:00, 2:35, 5:20, 8:00, 10:35

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sat., July 21

CC/DVS 9:25, 11:50

Sun., July 22

CC/DVS 10:00

Mon., July 23

CC/DVS 12:20, 2:45, 5:10, 7:35, 10:00

Tue., July 24

CC/DVS 12:20, 2:45, 5:10, 7:35, 10:15

Wed., July 25

CC/DVS 12:20, 2:45, 5:10, 7:35, 10:15

Thu., July 26

CC/DVS 12:20, 2:45, 5:10

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

The First Purge, Gerard McMurray, Y'lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Luna Lauren Velez, Marisa Tomei, Aaron V. Williamson, Chyna Layne, Patch Darragh, Melonie Diaz

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