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An overdose of brutal violence and severe mistreatment of women.
As an Immigrant who has lived in Finland for about 12 years, I think I was probably the only attending person who wasn't natively 'Finnish' at the screening.
Pudhistus is not the kind of movie that really deserves to be measured on a scale of 1 - 10. Nor is it the kind that I believe people should try to scrutinise. It is a movie that should be viewed and arbitrated completely the way it is shown, and entirely individually to the viewer. Not by any a larger party.
I knew that this movie would be incredibly brutal and that it would display lots of scenes in which women are utterly victimised and mistreated beyond human comprehension. But Puhdistus attacks the mind, in a way that is completely different to how it attacks the senses.
Puhdistus 'Purge' was an incredibly sickening, and overwhelmingly thought provoking movie. The two main characters are depicted perfectly by their actors, who 'bend over backwards' to bring 'Aliide' and 'Zara' to complete realisation. Their performances are shocking in a way that is almost impossible to illustrate in any way, other than visually by watching the movie. The movie isn't a 'historical' movie in pretty much 'any' sense other than the word. The historical aspect of the movie is only really taken so far as to bring the 'atmosphere' of the situation 'Aliide' was in when she was younger, rather than trying to educate its viewers about the pre-independence era of Estonia. So don't expect any sort of history lesson in the slightest.
Personally for me, halfway through I really had, had enough of how the movie centred entirely on how bad 'Aiide' and 'Zara's lives had been. And how they had been completely broken as human beings. Constantly abused and taken advantage of, it seemed like they had never, not even once been happy in their entire lives. The single digit, handful of smiles in the movie were only through utter insanity or 'false' hope that was then completely shattered in the most horrific way possible.
However I have some sincere concerns with this movie. The first of which that I don't believe this movie should be viewable by anyone under 18. We have an 18+ rating in Finland for movies but it is rarely, rarely used. In that, 18+ in Finland is pretty much reserved for only the most gruesome and 'troublesome' movies that could provoke similar bad behaviour from its viewers. Puhdistus was rated 16+. No one at the screening I was present for, looked remotely 16. This allowed me to breathe a 'very partial' sigh of relief. Nevertheless, having grown up from being 16 myself. I really don't think that anyone under the age of 18 should have the right to watch this movie. The themes are just far too mature for anyone under 18. While 'Zara' is supposed to be around the age of '20' in her flash-backs. She is made out to look more like she would be 15-16. Even putting that aside, this movie has more than enough graphic content to offend and sicken younger viewers.
Secondly, Finland has 'thē' reputation for producing movies of this sort, and has had, since the dawn if its film era. But after watching this, and countless other Finnish films. I must say that I think it's really time Finland steers away from where it is headed. The 'genre' of films Finland has produced in the past has had an extremely strong affect on the country's own image. Especially to foreigners. Finland is currently the country that produces shock films, 'like Ford produces cars.' Puhdistus is a step far to big in the wrong direction, and it's starting to make us look like we're a one-trick pony. And that's seriously saying the least.
On top of that Puhdistus has absolutely 0 re-watch value. It is a movie to be watched once, and then quickly forgotten. There is no real 'feeling' left over when the movie is done. Except for the really obvious feelings of sympathy and aversion for what was done to both the women.
It's hard to 'flaw' this movie in any way. The acting was amazing, totally first class. The drama was incredibly dramatic and believable. Even though the story, for the most part is entirely fictional. The scenes were filmed perfectly and the direction was perfect. Though the movie started at a different point in time, than where the book started and failed to elaborate a little on Zara's circumstance and how she came to be forced into prostitution in the first place. This caused the ending to seem a little confusing.
All in all Puhdistus is a movie that needs quite a bit of thought or former 'attunement' before it is to be viewed. If at all. It is in absolutely no way something that one should just rent from the store, and sit down with a bowl of popcorn in hand. Also even if you are one who has read the book, that doesn't mean that you are ready for the sheer 'sisu' that this movie has. I really cannot stress enough that this movie deserves, no, it demands to be separated from your typical 'psychological' roller-coaster. And that it absolutely should be. This is in no way a Hollywood movie, and the rules of 'America' do not apply here. This is a ride into the mind of sheer madness and the epitome of suffering.
I give the movie a very reluctant 5 out of 10. Because while it is an almost entirely flawless acting performance. It is a movie that begs to be forgotten as quickly as possible. It is a movie that absolutely had to have been brought to people's attention, but just as much should never have been. It is in no way my cup of tea, and won't be for many. But that isn't to say that it isn't good. It just isn't 'great' either.
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