Puhdistus (2012) Poster


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More than Kaurismäki
little_nighty7 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Finland - The land of Santa Clause, reindeer, snow, alcohol, sauna and dark movies. Yet, another movie in this category. Most viewers of Finnish movies probably know Aki Kaurismäki's movies, one of the few Finns who ever got successful abroad. But what have we got here? A movie based on a book by Sofie Oksanen, an Estonian-Finnish writer. It is dark, it is painful, but nothing like we're used to. It's darker, it's more painful. The movie tells of rape, of murder, of prostitution, of human trafficking. It tells us the story of two tortured souls who, in the end, can finally be free.

The movie is one of the best movies I have seen in a while, and surely the best non-English speaking movie that I've had the chance to watch lately. The acting is excellent, the story thankfully close to the book and the atmosphere soaks you right into the world of Aliide and Zara. Indeed, you get so captivated that sometimes it's hard to choke down your urge to scream.

If you have any chance, watch the movie and make your own picture of it. Nonetheless, be warned, people with quite a weak stomach should abstain from watching this movie because of its rather disturbing pictures.

Given you enjoyed this one, you might also like "Lilya 4-ever" (2002).
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Unexpectedly moving
stemal-130 August 2013
I'll admit that this isn't the kind of film I would have watched had I known more about it. What got me interested was a review in Empire magazine's Video Dungeon column, written by Kim 'Nightmare Movies' Newman which said that this contained a Frightfest (UK horror festival) full of exploitation all in one film. He did however go on to qualify this.

Yes, there are several very uncomfortable scenes which could have been exploitative, but they were all in context over a two hour running time, and I certainly didn't expect to be almost crying by the end. The acting was superb (particularly Laura Birn in a brave role I'd imagine most actresses would kill for), and I really felt for the female characters.

Maybe 'enjoyable' or 'entertaining' are not the right words to describe such a bleak film. But it will keep you gripped, and you would have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by it. I voted it 7/10 at first, but I'll have to check whether you can change your rating, as it's now an 8 in my book.
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An entertaining and successful film based on a popular book. Best finnish movie in a long time.
ernesti12 September 2012
Puhdistus (aka Purge) is a well executed drama based on a book by Sofi Oksanen. It pictures the torments of the people of Estonia in the soviet era without being a historical drama. It tells a story of two sisters, of their love to a same man which leads to a deception and ultimate disappointment. A young woman who is brought back by a coincidence is also connected to their past in the beginning.

For a finnish movie with a limited budget this is absolutely the film of the year or maybe a film of the few decades. There'd been nothing like this coming out from the finnish cinema until now. Finnish movies consists of mainly farce comedies, dull historical movies, war movies and that's just about all. Antti J. Jokinen breaks this eternal line of just average ordinary movies by bringing us a film with a beautiful cinematography, fantastic camera work, strong actor performance and an interesting plot. It is loyal to the book but it wouldn't be fair to judge the film and book against each other as with films it has to be consistent and quite solid up until the end and the book can go deeper.

The movie itself is very straight forward film with nothing left to question. That may be one drawback among a few others that kept me from giving this movie full ten stars. The other issue is that the movie doesn't engage as much as it should. Scenes just roll from one to another quite fast and things just happen and that feeling may not be avoided just after the first hour. I guessed what was going to happen but still after the film i felt entertained and not at all disappointed.

I also thought that presenting only one dimensional good vs. evil doesn't do the movie any good. These three three things just made me take a few stars off. It's still an enjoyable strong film that makes an impression but it's good for one time viewing only.

Jokinen has succeeded with this film and i sure hope he has many other interesting films to direct in the future.
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billcr1221 March 2015
A young woman forced into a prostitution ring in Estonia escapes and seeks refuge with an old lady whose horrific past is revealed through a series of flashbacks, and although I am not fan of a non linear style of filmmaking, it works well for this particular movie.The two main actresses are terrific and the World War Two history lesson regarding Estonia and Stalin's communist Russia is quite compelling. Both the current theme of white slavery and the past one of atrocities committed in the name of patriotism and honor are portrayed in a brutal and honest way. Purge runs a bit too long at two hours and five minutes, but even with that small criticism, I would rank it as one of my favorite foreign language films.
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Excellent, powerful film!
naadel-225-5185320 December 2013
Yes ,this movie has plenty of raw scenes, and not for everyone, but for others , you can see the powerful message through it! I consider the film very well directed and performed. Joining history into present problems is phenomenal. Actors and actresses performance is brilliant! This is the best dramas I have ever seen,keeping in mind that I've seen Schindler's List. I will recommend this film to anybody , who is interested in great acting and untold history. It certainly made me realize, how fortunate and blessed I am. Bravo to the cooperation of countries so little like Finland and Estonia, making so great movie! Already waiting for the next movie!
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Another great film based on a great book
cristidumitr10 June 2018
I've read Sofi Oksanen book before seeing the film and for me that's obvious that we have here a great film based on a great book. Usually the historic event crush individual lives and destinies, but sometimes is really amassing how peoples can react so different and how unexpected individual desires mixed up with historical event can generate dramas. This film also remembered me another one, a Romanian one, "Somewhere in the East", made after Augustin Buzura's novel "Fetele tacerii", part of the subject being related.
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New Finnish-Estonian Extremity
papasergey8 July 2015
This is an adaptation of the novel by the female writer Sofi Oksanen - daughter of a Finn and an Estonian women (the latter emigrated to Finland yet in the Soviet era). One glance at this woman is enough to see what sort of person she is. People of art, especially in contemporary Scandinavia, are, quite frankly, those 'Jupiters', who are allowed a lot of things we 'oxen' are not allowed. But, seriously, getting acquainted with their works is order of magnitude more interesting and alluring than with, you know, socialist realism novels the authors of which were dressed in respectable jackets.

The same is here: the film based on the book by the contemporary Finnish émancipée really grabs me from the very first frame. The newly independent Estonia which has not yet entered into NATO and the EU. A cursed old house, like in some Grindcore song, hides numerous terrible secrets under its floorboards which are nailed perfectly still. Who lives in it, is of course a creepy old Finno-Ugric woman, who smokes better than an experienced young guy and grabs the sharp ax, should things go a bit wrong. She possesses a pistol as well, as it is later found out. An inscription like 'Russian whore' is shown off on the glass of her window. We see that a lot has gone through this backward old woman and that she would die hard anyway.

In her yard, a half dead escapee - a psycho prostitute girl, chased by her pimps - is trying to hide. Until the end it is not clear: whether God himself brought her exactly to THIS grandmother (in Estonia, after all those dreadful events they have survived, people do not believe in God: this is perhaps the only atheistic country in the world), or she knew beforehand who to seek. In general, in the abundance of flashbacks, the audience can easily read the extremely frank confession of the old Estonian woman, and there will be no doubt that the girl really was at the right time in the right place... And as for the bandits, they once again demonstrated all the riskiness of their ticklish 'craft'. Sometimes, they would get away in such scrapes, that even commandos would not. But here - just a miserable peasant old woman from a single-homestead settlement! Who knew that the granny was kind of Rambo! She would not be frightened by photos of mutilated corpses, by a knife or even by a pistol: in her lifetime, something worse could be seen...

And everything was right about the film (it even, dare I say it, is endowed with the aesthetics of death: puddles of blood with a metallic gleam, flames, carved autumn leaves), but the shocking end. I was just about standing up and cheering the 'Rambo grandmother' who had successfully born everything, when suddenly... The shock was not what I saw there. Shock was in irrationality of the final frame! She has survived all the atrocities throughout her life, if not a lightning incinerates me for such a cynicism, with flying colours. Whatever fell to her lot (torture and abuse, personal life failure and economic disruption) - she would just wash herself thoroughly (hence the name of the work) and her sly life goes on. But the fact of what the author made her heroine to do instead of the happy end, for me, crossed out everything that the author had spoken about the character above.

Hard to say what exactly influenced the author's choice of such a zigzag final (the novel and its film adaptation of the same name end the same, which of course, does not always happen). But one thing is certain. As long as society of many young nations (or rather of those which have existed for centuries, but almost always in their history dependent upon neighbours which have been more numerous, better politically organised and rich) perceives their past as 'genocide' ('playing the victim'), such stories will be just those caps that fit. Whether this is good or bad - who am I to judge. Dwell on the past and you may lose an eye; forget the past and you will lose both eyes out...
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