The Purge (15) ***

Tony Oller is Henry in The Purge. Picture:  PA Photo/UPI Media.
Tony Oller is Henry in The Purge. Picture: PA Photo/UPI Media.
Steve Buscemi as Nikita Khrushchev, Jeffrey Tambor as Georgy Malenkov, Adrian McLoughlin as Joseph Stalin, Dermot Crowley as Lazat Kaganovich, Paul Chahidi as Nikolai Bulganin, Paul Whitehouse as Anastas Mikoyan and Simon Russell Beale as Lavrentiy Beria.

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While MPs continue to be divided over the legalisation of drugs as means to reduce violent crime, James DeMonaco’s brutal thriller proposes a far more radical solution.

The Purge suggests that for one night every year, citizens can take up knives and guns to kill anyone they choose without legal reprisals.

A boss who withheld promotion can be terminated by an aggrieved employee; a jilted lover can break more than their old flame’s heart.

It’s a neat premise and writer-director James DeMonaco cranks up tension with sadistic glee in his impressively lean second feature, which reunites him with leading man Ethan Hawke.

Thorny moral issues aren’t discussed in great depth as the plot whirs into action and once the first gun shot sounds.

The year is 2022 and there is almost no crime in America.

Security salesman James Sandin (Hawke) returns home to his luxurious gated community and his wife Mary (Lena Headey) and children Zoey (Adelaide Kane) and Charlie (Max Burkholder).

It’s Purge night and at 7pm a siren will sound that grants anyone immunity from prosecution for killing for the next 12 hours.