pay attention to the following unsolicited guidance counseling: selling drugs
may sound like a quick and an easy way to make money, but it can land you deep
in debt to the wrong sort of people. One
London dealer learns this the hard way in Luis Prieto’s remake of Nicholas
Winding Refn’s Pusher (trailer here), executive-produced
by Danish filmmaker, which opens this Friday in New York.
goes to a lot of parties and folks are always happy to see him, because he is
the man with the drugs. He enjoys living
the fast life with his girlfriend Flo, a stripper who turns the odd pro gig on
the side. Together with his loser sidekick
Tony he deals on an unsentimental, cash-and-carry basis. However, he makes the mistake of leveraging
himself with Milo, a notorious Balkan gangster, when a mysterious former associate
pops up looking to buy a serious chunk of cocaine. When the cops break up the deal, Frank is
still on the hook with Milo.
the next week, Frank will careen through London, trying to collect debts and
set-up a Hail Mary score, but not at the expense of his hedonistic
lifestyle. Eventually, Milo’s top
enforcer Hakan will even lend a kneecap-breaking hand, knowing full well he
will soon turn his talents on Frank.
any film were ever amped up on coke it would be Prieto’s Pusher, an English language reboot of a Danish film from a Spanish
director, featuring the Croatian-born Zlatko Burić, reprising the role of Milo,
whom he portrayed throughout Refn’s original trilogy. Propelled by a disorienting techno
soundtrack, the film never gives the audience a minute to reconsider their sympathetic
investment in the amoral Frank. Instead,
we just root along with him out of respect for his high wire act.
teetering on the brink of full-on substance related mania, Richard Coyle is impressively
intense as Frank. Following his genial
turn in the tight-little-island creature mash-up Grabbers, it is quite a surprise to see he had this in him. Model turned actress Agyness Deyn also far
exceeds expectations, portraying Flo with dignity and depth. Once again, Burić does his thing,
villainously chewing the scenery as Milo.
Yet, the standout support comes from Mem Ferda, unusually smart and
funny as the philosophical Hakan.
Unfortunately, Bronson Webb is just uncharismatic dead weight as the
Cinematographer Simon Dennis tries to out slick every
Michael Mann crime drama ever with his cool neon and noir look. Sleazy but effective escapism, what Prieto’s Pusher lacks in depth it makes up for with
its unpretentious directness. Recommended
for those nostalgic for Miami Vice and
the sort of old school Britspoitation films that always seemed to have Roy Budd
soundtracks, Pusher opens this Friday
(10/26) in New York at the Village East Cinema.
Labels: Luis Prieto, Nicolas Winding Refn