In the past few years, the Sundance Film Festival has begun to embrace the narrative art of television. The 2016 festival premiered the first couple episodes of the Bad Robot-produced TV adaptation of Stephen King’s 11.22.63. The 2017 festival has expanded their television category to include an independent pilot showcase, essentially a platform for independently produced television pilots without a home.
I’ve mostly avoided the television programs at the festival because there are just too many promising films to see, but a small gap in my schedule led me to a screening of these pilots this year. There I came across one of the best things I’ve seen at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival so far: a television pilot called When The Street Lights Go On.
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The Purge seems like an idea born out of a late night stoner discussion. “Dude, what if, like, there was one day every year where there were no laws? People could go crazy, and society would self-regulate, and normals would just have to hide.”
Jason Blum, who worked with Ethan Hawke on Sinister, also produced The Purge, which casts Hawke as a rich guy who takes refuge inside his fortress of a home during one day of the year where all laws and emergency services are suspended. The film has the edge of a home invasion thriller, with masks recalling The Strangers and You’re Next even as they also conjure up Guy Fawkes. But there’s a bit of a speculative bent thanks to the supposed effect of the purge — American society, stripped of all the elements that kill each other off during the lawless day, is stronger than ever.
So the wealthy Hawke and his family are hiding at home, but their daughter gives refuge to a man afraid for his life. And then the people who want to kill him come calling. What happens next? Check out the trailer below. Read More »