The Castle of Purity (El Castillo de la pureza)

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Movie Info

In this disturbing drama, a father, seeking to protect his family from the evils of the outside world, locks them away in his ancestral home for eighteen years. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for The Castle of Purity (El Castillo de la pureza)

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Audience Reviews for The Castle of Purity (El Castillo de la pureza)

  • Jul 08, 2013
    Before <i>Dogtooth</i> (2009), there was the Mexican masterpiece <i>El Castillo de la Pureza.</i> Gabriel Lima is a family man disgusted by humanity, a desperate individual that has the perception of all things in the world coming to an end. He decides to confine himself and his family for 18 years in a big colonial house in order to avoid his wife and his three sons to have any contact with the outside world. The family survives thanks to the business the father started with his invention of a home-made rat poison, which is fabricated by his sons everyday like factory laborers. Only Gabriel is allowed to go outside, selling the merchandise to nearby stores and businesses, while encountering troubles with the municipal authorities because of the side effects and the possible illegality of the substances that his rat poison formula has caused. Whereas the Greek director Giorgos Lanthimos would be concerned with the possible claustrophobic environment to be too dense for audiences to handle, Arturo Ripstein confines the audience in the darkness of the house and lets the disturbing nature of the father to be unleashed with no apologies. With an aversion for the evil nature of humanity, yet with a contradictory passion for literature, he establishes an authoritarian regime in his own house: creating a schedule of disciplinary actions, physical exercises, "school" courses containing literature readings, making his family memorize quotes (without the context provided) of philosophers like Goethe and Ellis about how to be a superior man while avoiding societal consensus, locking up his children in dusty underground prisons when they misbehaved and physically abusing them for all the mistakes they did in the past with no room for apologies, in spite of his disturbingly bipolar personality. Yet, in the outside world and away from the eyes of his family, he hypocritically commits a considerable number of deeds that he condemns so much, such as being unfaithful and having sex with any virgin woman he encounters while blaming his wife for not being a virgin because of having sex with men before meeting him, and manipulating people for his own convenience. A sense of dread and claustrophobia invade the film, allowing the audience to leave the house less than 10 times. Ripstein's possibly best film conducts an analysis of hypocrisy and about a psychotic and delusional control of circumstances, and the ironic creation of a domestic hell of a man that wants to save his family from an external hell. The allegory of the man selling rat poison serves cleverly the purpose of reflecting Gabriel's perspective towards humanity, even if he slowly becomes one of the human rats he so much loathes. All of the actions take place while a heavy rain invades the house everyday, making the architecture to go weaker and increasing the probability of the house crumbling down, and while his sons begin to be invaded by fear, by their physical impulses, and by a strong wish to see the outside world for the first time in their lives. A controversial masterpiece that was brought to light once again thanks to the recent release of the inferior <i>Kynodontas</i> and to Lanthimos' uncomfortable reaction when he was asked whether if he had seen <i>The Castle of Purity</i> before, giving <b>no answer</b> to the interviewer. 98/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Feb 19, 2008
    Clasico solido del cine mexicano, quizas lo unico bueno que ha dirigido Ripstein en toda su carrera. Claudio Brook es la clase de actor que le urge con desesperacion al cine mexicano actual.
    Tsubaki S Super Reviewer

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