Unless you are an avid film lover, you probably haven’t seen or heard of the 1996 Danish film, Pusher. That film was directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, who gained some notoriety state-side last year with the Ryan Gosling vehicle, Drive. This new version of Pusher is an English-language remake of this cult classic film.
As it goes with most remakes, this newest version fails to capture that certain something from the original. But that’s not to say that it is an utter failure. Richard Coyle portrays Frank, a mid-level drug dealer working for the eccentric mob boss, Milo (played once again by Zlatko Buric who portrayed Milo in the original film, because who else could possibly play Milo?). We spend a week with him, as the film is broken into segments with large graphics depicting each day of the week. It also goes to show how quickly things can unravel in such a tumultuous profession.
When a deal goes bad, Frank gets in deeper and deeper with Milo. The two have a unique relationship, and Buric is great once again as the cold mob boss with a touch of compassion for Frank. In their scenes, we believe they have a history that is real. Milo doesn’t want to have to break Frank’s legs you see, it’s strictly business. Frank doesn’t take offense to Milo, because he understands that one’s legs may end up being broken when it comes to unfulfilled debts and empty promises in this industry.
Richard Coyle drifts through the role with ease, and the early portion of the film feels spirited and stylish. But as things unravel for Frank, Pusher loses its panache. By the end, we are left with a mildly entertaining crime film, that seems strangely like it could have been better.
Fans of the original film will probably feel betrayed that their film is being tampered with, but I felt like this remake was a solid effort. It also has the blessing of Refn, who appears briefly in the film and serves as producer. But for those who have never seen the original Pusher, they may find this film serviceable if not all that memorable.
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Run Time: 1 hour 29 minutes, Rated R
Starring: Richard Coyle, Bronson Webb, Agyness Deyn, Zlatko Buric
Written by Mathew Read
Directed by Luis Prieto (Condon Express)
Opens locally on Friday, October 26th, 2012 (check for show times).
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