In the heart of a quiet Mennonite community, the dark thriller Pure (directed by Ken Girotti) explores a seething underbelly of drugs, family, faith, and murder. Based on true events, the story revolves around a group of Mennonites who have been recruited and sometimes coerced into the drug trade by a ruthless Mexican cocaine cartel. At the center of the story is Noah Funk (Ryan Robbins), an earnest, hesitant Pastor who is struggling to rid his community of the drugs.
The main drug boss, Eli Voss (Peter Outerbridge), has made it clear that Noah will continue to allow the drug operation to remain in place. Noah turns to a high school friend, a cop named Bronco (AJ Buckley), and sets Eli up. But the plan to get rid of the drug operation backfires, and the Mexican cartel decides that Noah must now run the Mennonite drug production ring or his family will die.
There are shades of Macbeth in Pure, as Noah rises to power without wanting it, while his wife, Anna Funk (Alex Paxton-Beesley), becomes a fierce Lady Macbeth as she relishes in her newfound power. She seethes with menace from under her perfectly ironed dress and starched bonnet. It is a tremendous performance.
But Noah Funk is a man not made for this type of work. He is a conflicted soul who doesn’t belong in a world drugs and murder. Ryan Robbins gives an incredible performance of a decent man desperate to do the right thing.
Pure is a thoughtfully shot show with a stark contrast between the simple horse and buggy world of the Mennonites and the technological, brutal world of the drug cartel. But it is not a show of absolutes, and it’s always startling to see Mennonite men and women processing drugs in full plain clothes. This is an exceptional show that keeps up the tension between the brutal grip the cartel has on an entire community and Noah’s desperate desire to cling to his gentle nature and deep faith. A must see.