Matt Adcock’s film review: Pusher

Step this way for a ride on an express elevator to hell…

By The Newsroom
Monday, 15th October 2012, 6:08 am

Meet Frank. He’s a small-time drug pusher, played with a wide-eyed, realistic feeling charisma by the excellent Richard Coyle – who, incidentally, looks a lot like my good pal Mike.

In just one week, Frank’s life completely falls apart, and the film takes viewers along for the nail biting, ill-fated ride.

This is an English language remake of a Danish tale of the same name by Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn.

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If you know the original then you’ll know exactly what to expect – a big deal is on the offing which goes wrong and leaves Frank in a £55,000 hole to Milo – Zlatko Buric reprising his menacing role from the original.

With just two days to pay back the money, Frank begins to desperately call in favours from his friends and family – and when his last chance risky drug import plan from Amsterdam goes belly up, he has to resort to crazed violent measures in order to try and save his kneecaps.

Pusher looks the business, a fantastic blend of drab lesser-seen parts of London mixed with throbbing neon-lit clubs and stark interiors.

The visual flair of the film is great, if you look carefully, there are icons such as the face of Jesus, skulls, subliminal messages and the like, hidden – and some not so hidden, mirroring Frank’s increased desperation – on walls, in paintings, on windows and the like.

This is a brilliant move as it gives a whole extra level of depth to the proceedings.

The soundtrack has been amped up, too, thanks to dance music legends Orbital who have created a superb album of tracks to go along with the movie.

As Frank’s life falls apart before his very eyes, his long suffering girlfriend Flo – the gorgeous model turned actress Agyness Deyn – doesn’t know whether to stick with him or cut her losses and run.

So we have a scary escalation of violence that feels disturbingly plausible.

Crime boss Milo is a walking, talking one-man government anti drugs campaign, if having anything to do with drugs means mixing with such monsters.

Director Luis Prieto delivers a very watchable, gritty and exciting crime odyssey – but even with great performances and cool flashy visuals, this can’t quite match the sheer energy of the original.

Don’t do drugs, do go see Pusher.