14 August 2004 | element756
A brilliant portrayal of junk addiction and love in East London.
Pure, a film about a heroin addict mother in East London, could all too easily have become a cold and hopeless rendition of the destructive nature of drug use. Instead, through sensitive screenplay and compelling performances from the cast, it successes in showing how a binding familial love can triumph over the modern evils which so many face. Molly Parker, who plays a widowed junkie mother of two compels us to discover how she can care more about heroin than her two sons. However, the saving grace of the film is the mature and grounded portrayal of her older son, Paul, played by Harry Eden. His simple, heartfelt acting gives the audience a sense of his position, trapped between loyalty to his mother and the social services. It is Eden's acting, through which the film is shown, that we are immersed into the grimy drudgery of West Ham. His facial expression, never contrived or obvious gives a realism which makes him shine out against other child actors today. And when he too smokes heroin with his companion Louise (played by Keira Knightley in a refreshing change from her swashbuckling), we wonder whether the vice of this drug can grip him too. The image of a ten year-old boy chasing the dragon tips us to the edge of our seats and ponders what lengths this film will go to to show us such a different world. The cinematography offers haunting visions of this concrete jungle and is very effective. I felt the film's only downfall was its soundtrack which is written by only one person and gives little variation from its initial theme. However at some points its sentimental sound is appropriate. I really did like this film because at its core stood the moral that despite what influences of sin and hatred we might undergo, love will always remain. Well worth seeing.