Directed by Luis Prieto
This version of Pusher is an English language remake of the Danish film. Not a terrible movie but not all that great. The story is pretty typical, but it is directed with style and that makes it better than it otherwise would have been.
The film focuses on Frank (Richard Coyle). Frank is a low-level drug dealer who owes some money to a Serbian gangster named Milo (Zlatko Burić). Frank’s friend Tony (Bronson Webb) sets up a drug deal. In order to make that deal happen Frank borrows £45,000 of cocaine from Milo with the understanding that he Milo will get the money back tomorrow along with £3,000 that Frank owes. The deal goes bad when the police raid it and Frank is forced to dump the drugs in a duck pond. That sets up the main thrust of the film where Frank has to scramble to pull together all the money he owes Milo.
Frank is not a sympathetic character. Nor is he meant to be. He’s a shallow man that sees things only in the short term it’s always about him. He digs his own hole and has been doing so for a long time. And now his greed has put him so far in that hole he may not get out
Even though it’s a remake of a Dutch film it comes off as you’re by the numbers British crime movie. There’s nothing too special that makes it stand out from the pack other than the directing. There’s style to it. There are quick cuts and the electronic music denotes the tension Frank feels or him being high or whatever is going on in the scene.
Frank’s desperation grows throughout the movie and you feel it come across the screen. He tries to get it from the people that owe him and comes up short. He then goes begging to his mother and that doesn’t help and finally in desperation he goes and robs a party that’s being held by someone that stole money from him and that doesn’t even help.
Finally, Frank decides to run away with his sorta girlfriend Flo (Agyness Deyn). He’s jacked up on cocaine and is not thinking clearly but running away is probably the best thought he’s had during the whole film. It really is his only option besides going to the police. His girlfriend and he have decided to run off to Spain and it’s all moving in that direction until Frank gets a call from Milo.
Milo makes a deal with Frank. If Frank shows up with the money he has they will discuss the rest. It’s an obvious trap but Frank is an idiot and buys it. It’s just an excuse to bring Frank to them so that they can kill him.
The closing shot where Flo gets in a car without Frank and continues to Spain implies that Frank dies though it’s only implied. It’s a rather bleak ending but I wouldn’t expect anything less from this movie.
Agyness Deyn is pretty good. I’m not sure how much she did before this movie came out but it’s my impression from what little I’ve read on her this was early in the acting resume. Before this she had done mostly modeling. Flo is a clearly broken woman and the actress is able to make that clear. I give her props for that.
Richard Coyle does a good job with Frank. While you want the main character to somehow survive, his portrayal of Frank makes you OK with him getting killed. It’s acceptable.
The story is OK. It’s nothing special but it’s not terrible either. I’m not sure what could have improved it and made it a standout. The life of the drug dealer falling apart is well tread ground at this point. There are dozens of them. We’ve seen the story in movies and on television shows for many years. It’s not a bad film. It’s just nothing too special.
It’s not a must-see. If it’s a choice between this or something familiar go with the familiar. You won’t be disappointed here but you won’t be too impressed either.