Posted in: Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on April 29th, 2007
Drug addiction is scary. It can take an otherwise decent person and turn them in a messy pool of hate, disgust and worthlessness. When the drug you are addicted to is heroin; amplify that by ten. Enter Paul (played by Harry Eden(Oliver Twist)), a ten year old trying to take care of his younger brother Lee (played by Vinnie Hunter) and his heroin addicted mother Mel (played by Molly Parker(Wicker Man, Deadwood)). The father of th…s family is unfortunately dead from a heart attack so Paul has grown up quickly and takes care of the cleaning, cooking and anything else that needs to be attended to. Mel tries to kick the habit on several occasions but is constantly hampered by the local dealer Lenny (played by David Wenham(300, Van Helsing) and the drug itself. Paul tries to find a way to cope and often escapes to spend time with his crush, a teenage waitress named Louise (played by Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean, Domino))who is unfortunately just as tragically flawed as Mel and has her own addictions to deal with.
Pure is a very hard movie to watch. It’s full of strong and disturbing drug use by a number of people, not just the mother. As the tagline would indicate, it really does seem that everybody craves something whether it would be drugs, attention or simply love. There are a lot of characters in the film with good intentions but for most part, it’s a really frustrating ride. In the end, there is a reason for hope but it seems too forced like it didn’t come naturally. I also have somewhat of an issue with how this film was marketed. Clearly they are pushing that Keira Knightley is in the film and that she has equal footing with the other two standout characters. They even put her face as the biggest on the cover. However, she is a mere supporting character, a good performance but a background draw and sub-plot at best. It’s frustrating that they don’t think the film can stand up on its own and that the only way it will sell copies is push the fact she is in it. The truth is that Harry Eden puts on a absolutely marvelous performance as Paul, so much he won an award for it at the Berlin Film Festival. He is convincing in his role and his acting is truly superb. Molly Parker also puts on a good show and is a very convincing heroin addict. The rest of the characters are mostly forgettable however including Keira.
Video is presented in 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen. It’s good color mostly, nothing too bad or too good here. It’s supposed to be something of a drab movie for the simple fact it’s about drug addiction. If you notice subtly by the end of the film, the colors do pick up a bit which is a nice nod to those of us who are paying attention.
Sound unfortunately is the true low point of the disc. This is only sporting 2.0 Dolby Digital and is very faint about even that. My volume knob was higher than usual but I could understand the main characters very well. The problem was that any supporting characters (excluding Keira) talked I had trouble making out a lot of the speech. As mentioned, the volume was low and also the harsh British accents made it difficult to make out a few passages. That wouldn’t be so bad but there were no subtitles to be found as well. Point to foreign film makers, if your characters have accents of any sort and you are releasing the film to the United States, include English subtitles, please. Or at least record the film in a higher volume.
Automatic Trailers: Pariah, Moonlight. These are pretty darn disturbing trailers, and I didn’t really care for either film once completed.
Theatrical Trailer: I might be of the minority but I appreciate when they include the original trailer on the disc. It’s always interesting to watch after you seen the film to see how it’s marketed.
Photo Gallery: Twelve pictures from the film, nothing really all that picturesque.
Poster Progression: The various posters used to promote the film. I prefer the one where the three characters look like they have equal footing and not Keira’s big head one that made the final cut.
Director’s Interview 33:52: Interview (we assume there is a second person in the background) with Gillies MacKinnon. He goes into detail about the film, the casting, and touches on most of the major characters in the film. He also alludes to the fact that we wished for the film to be education and be shown to young children about the dangers of heroin addiction. Noble, however the film got a R rating so I don’t really see that happening. I think it could work if the parents are explaining the movie to the child as they are watching it, but not a classroom setting for sure.
Cast & Crew Bios: Some text representation of the people associated with the film.
Sneak Previews: Trailers of Fakers, Two Men Went to War, 3 Walls, Pariah & Moonlight.
Drug addiction movies aren’t supposed to be happy. We aren’t supposed to feel all giddy inside when we sit down nor when we leave at the end of the picture. If it’s done well; it is a gritty stab at an unfortunate circumstance and underlying of the drug culture. Hopefully there is some redemption by the picture’s end but there is never any guarantee of promise. Pure does some of that, however I do feel the ending seems somewhat forced and a little too tidy. Outside of the main characters, the cast is mostly forgettable. Be warned, there is some really graphic scenes of drug use and this movie is not for children unless the parent is explaining it along the way. However, there are two very strong performances turned in by Harry Eden and Molly Parker. The disc itself is okay, with good video and decent extras. The sound is disappointing, so be sure to turn up your knob so you can get the best shot at hearing everything. I make a recommendation to rent this just not buy.
Special Features List
- Automatic Trailers (2)
- Theatrical Trailer
- Photo Gallery
- Poster Progression
- Director’s Interview
- Cast & Crew Bios
- Sneak Previews (5)