Movie Review: Pusher doesn’t push far enough.

Directed by Luis Prieto, “Pusher” is a re-make of the 1996 original by Nicholas Winding Refn (“Drive”). Starring Richard Coyle (“Prince of Pursia: The Sand of Time”) as Frank, the drug pusher, viewers are swept into the lifestyle of Britain’s top drug fiends in the span of one week, which clocks in at one hour and 16 minutes.

Frank travels all day and night, rolling up into customers’ homes and rolling out of nightclubs with his best mate and comic relief, Tony (Bronson Webb, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”), and his girlfriend, Flo (Agyness Ferda, “Clash of the Titans”).

Frank may be a pusher, but more often, he gets pushed around by his customers and is forced to negotiate secret loans behind his supplier’s back. After a drug bust that turns into a high speed chase between Frank and the cops, Frank gets into trouble with his supplier, Milo, who pushes him to do whatever it takes to get back the 50 G’s he owes for the cocaine he misdealt.

The music sounds very 90s, which makes sense since the original film was released in 1996. It has the signature synth infused tunes that drop beats as frequently as raindrops falling from the sky. Based on this, it’s easy to see that Refn understands that good music makes a good film, and Prieto took this logic to heart.

The cinematography aspect in “Pusher” is fantastic. Vibrant colors fade in and out and the cuts between scenes are smooth. There’s once scene where Flo is crying and Frank is reaching out to touch her, but then she turns around and his image fades out. Even the violent scenes full of blood, sweat and tears were tastefully done so the most squeamish of viewers would not feel uncomfortable or grossed out.

Relating to the characters is somewhat difficult though because the only character development established is on Frank. In a few scenes, the story dips into the lives of some of Frank’s clients, but only briefly. Viewers are only exposed to Frank’s side of the story, and even then, there isn’t even much of a backstory, which makes it even more challenging to connect the plot dots from beginning to end.

Going into the “Pusher” with previous knowledge about the original leaves viewers at neither an advantage nor a disadvantage. As far as I know, the setting is the only major element that was changed. (Fun fact: The actor who played Milo is actually the original Milo from Refn’s film.)

Although “Pusher” is predictable at times, like most movies about the drug world, Prieto keeps everyone on their toes, guessing long after the movie is over. “Pusher” is entertaining, but definitely a film worth waiting for on Netflix—don’t push up and pay for this in theatres.

2.5/5 stars

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