Pusher is the third remake of a 1996 movie written and directed by Nicholas Winding Refn. Taken the action out of Copenhagen, writer Mathew Read movies Refn’s story to the sometimes gritty, sometimes-glamorous streets of London.
Frank (Richard Coyle) is a small-time drug dealer dealing with a few select clients in London. Sidekick Tony (Bronson Webb) introduces Frank to Marlon (Neil Maskell) for a big deal, Marlon claims to know Frank from when they were in prison together, and despite Frank smelling a rat in the deal, borrows heavily to carry out the deal. When the deal goes badly wrong, Frank is out of pockets thousands of pounds, and with no product to sell, he’s completely wiped out. Being broke and without product is not the only problem, the Russian gangster/supplier he borrowed from wants his money, and if he does not get it, Frank will pay for the loss with his life.
Pusher is a bit like a drug rush, its story is told in both high speed and a slow meander at the same time. There is no rhyme or reason behind the variation in story speed, but it does seem to work. This being said there is a small portion of the film where it meanders just a little bit too long.
Set on the streets of London, and clearly on a tight budget director Luis Prieto does a good job of making you think that you are seeing a lot more of London than you actually do. A lot of the action takes pace in stage locations, such as apartments, clubs, shops etc. This adds to the movies strengths as it gives what is a reasonably big city a very insular feel, making you understand this is not a place that Frank can just walk away from.
While Pusher is an enjoyable watch, there does feel like there is something missing, there is just that little bit too much vacant, something in the story perhaps, something in one of the characters perhaps Flo (Agyness Deyn) seems very under-developed which leaves a rather hollow conclusion to a specific scene.
Pusher is an enjoyable movie, and has a good pace, but it’s not a movie you want to give too much thought to, because when the thoughts come in then the faults become exposed.