In the Swedish film “Pure” (2010) 20-year old Katarina (Alicia Vikander has her breakthrough role before ” Ex Machina” and “A Danish Girl”). She is determined to flee her dreary grungy life, bullied by tormenters at school and neglected by her alcoholic prostitute mother. Everything changes when she hears a performance of Mozart’s Requiem, opening up a new world to a soul aching for an intellectual life. But the path she has to follow in order to escape proves a treacherous one, filled with lies, betrayal and a dangerous liaison.
She has been a combative, fiery, but aching soul. Katarina’s love for music and her eagerness to learn gain her the position of Concert Hall receptionist where Adam the composer introduces her to great literature and philosophy. Dramatic changes, created by her burgeoning awareness, transform Katarina. “Courage is life’s only measure”, a quote she has learned from an admirer of Kierkegaard’s philosophy, becomes her mantra. Music saves her soul and her life, but with unintended consequences.”Pure” rapidly takes the viewer on a roller coaster of surprising turns and an even more surprising end.
The entire film depends on the performance of Alicia Vikander as Katarina, and that performance is flawless. First, we see her as a young girl of passion, through her disillusionment. Second, in the very last scene, her soulful eyes are both exhilarating and deflating.
Catch this underrated psychological thriller and its unexpected ending as soon as you get the chance. Instant stream on Netflix.