Hectic workload, getting yelled at by your boss or having a spat with a loved one might be considered by some to be the signs of a bad week. Compared to the main character Frank in Luis Prieto’s new film Pusher, lets just say he would be more than happy to switch places with you. It is a remake of the 1996 Danish film of the same title directed by Nicolas Winding Refn; Refn’s film is part of what is known as The Pusher Trilogy. The original setting of Denmark has been switched to London but the story remains intact; the film also stars Zlatko Buric (2012) who starred in the original film & trilogy as the drug boss Milo.
Frank played by Richard Coyle (Covert Affairs) is a local drug dealer who has a good stream of clients. He conducts business quick & easy but if you don’t have the cash then you don’t get the stash. He’s first introduced by doing a deal with someone he knows fairly well. When the client is short, Frank doesn’t hesitate to take some of the product back and give him exactly what he is paying for. Frank does have some sort of a conscience as we see later on when it’s revealed that he does let others slide on their payments. Frank lives a carefree, fun filled, drug induced lifestyle with nothing holding him back. That all changes though after a drug deal goes wrong and Frank has neither the drugs or money. What follows is a wild, hectic, adrenaline fueled week in which Frank has to collect over 50,000 Euros to pay back his boss Milo.
The biggest difference to Refn’s orginal is the look of the film. The originalPusher (1996) is very dark, gritty and could pass as a documentary of the Dutch underworld. Prieto’s film is stylized with the editing only adding more to it. The film starts by introducing us to each of the main characters with a few seconds of action; by the time the title card says “MONDAY” we already get a sense of the world we are about to step into. As days pass so does the intensity of the editing; with mix of sound and visual effects the viewer can almost feel the chaos that Frank is going through.
Coyle portrays an innocence in Frank that allows the viewer to relate to him as he tries to figure out how his life got so out of control. Frank’s best mate/partner Tony played by Bronson Webb have a very buddy, buddy friendship and when that comes apart you wonder what Frank will do next. Frank’s girl Flo played by Agyness Deyn (Clash of the Titans) seems to be his only redeeming aspect to life, even though she’s addicted to coke & heroin. Buric brings the same intensity if not a bit more to Milo’s character. He acts like Frank’s best friend in the world but when Frank owes him money then the real Milo comes out. There’s a quiet rage you can sense when he’s Frank’s buddy and it comes out ten fold when it’s payback time.
By the end of Frank’s week the viewer will be trying to figure what his next move will be and that’s the ride Prieto has laid out. He has presented a fine remake of Refn’s original while also establishing this film with its own moments that viewers can watch both films and have a different experience.
2.5 out 5