A western set in Pakistan may not appear to be the most obvious contender for expected film from an industry or medium but this fast moving shoot out is refreshing. A genre piece that is meditating on classic themes of ownership, sibling rivalry and gender, it comes at you like a train. With bullets flying, memories blurring and fears creeping, MY PURE LAND is a heady mix that satisfied me far less than it does it’s own conscience.
When two half brothers go to war after the death of their father, the family home is the prize desired. One who is living on the land claims ownership via legal documents. The other claims ownership via fraud, bribery and now force. So when the land owning brother dies and the family are left to fend for themselves, he takes the chance to reclaim what isn’t his. The family have to fight for every last inch of land.
Director Sarmad Masud takes a real event and interlaced it with drama, political commentary and magic realism. He plays with themes of paternal power and gender roles but maintains enough distance to give weight to his work. It falls. It falls often on it’s pacing, slow and over complicated, it’s position from the varied viewpoints that filter detail but not reaction and it’s scenes. In every action, there will be an equal and opposite reaction. So says Newton and so says the law of MY PURE LAND. It’s a film that sets up much and pays off. Equally setting up and paying off with exposition flashback, current events and merges of the two. Some are over long and drag down it’s middle and third act. However it is ambitious, passionate and compulsive viewing for it’s first 35 minutes. This all adds up.to a film that is unafraid to comment on events, society and culture with clarity…if not punctuality