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Pure (2002)

Such is life

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 96 minutes

UK Certificate: 18


Pure’ is one of those DVDs that forces you to sit through a string of trailers before it allows you to actually get to the movie. A word of advice to whoever was in charge of making that decision: when the subject matter is as bleak as it often is here, it’s not a great idea to put the viewer in a bad mood before the movie even starts.

Despite that little annoyance, what follows once the thing eventually starts is a surprisingly original piece of work from Glaswegian director Gillies Mackinnon. Impressive ankle-biter Harry Eden takes centre-stage as Paul, a 10-year-old East Londoner who, after years of thinking his mum (Molly Parker) just takes medicine”, discovers she’s actually a heroine addict.

Junkie flicks aren’t exactly the newest thing on the block, but what differentiates this one from the average is the realism of how the situation is handled, along with the notable avoidance of clichés. There are also some very good performances, with young Eden’s stirring display matched by turns from David “Faramir” Wenham as the thinking man’s pimp, and a pre-Pirates of the Caribbean Keira Knightley on slaggy teen duty. Gary Lewis – of Billy Elliot and Gangs of New York fame – is also on board as a gritty ‘Taggart’-like Scottish detective.

This is a low-key and thoughtful production, but not a brilliant one. It becomes more upbeat towards the end than you’d probably expect (though it’s fair to say it’s never in any danger of straying into “barrel of laughs” territory), but none of its changes in mood really have much impact.

It’s not the sort of film you’re likely to switch on to get the family in a good mood while they’re gathered around at Christmas, but it’s worth a look if only as an alternative to Hollywood’s steady stream of blockbusters.

It's Got: Possibly more references to West Ham United than youll see in any production not involving Alf Garnett.

It Needs: To dump the irritating Childrens Film Foundation-style soundtrack.

DVD Extras No extras except for that force-fed succession of trailers. DVD Extras Rating: 0/10


Well-acted, but not particularly memorable. Harry Eden's one to look out for in the future.