Cocaine, strippers, sex, cocaine, guns and cocaine. What more could you ask for? How about a good movie? Pusher (2012) tells the story of a drug pusher, Frank (Richard Coyle), who grows increasingly desperate after a botched deal leaves him with a large debt to a ruthless drug lord.
This is a remake of the 1996 original that was directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. Refn is also attached to this remake as an executive producer. Refn is the man responsible for last year’s Drive. This is not that movie.
All right, let’s get down to the gritty and try to pick out some bright spots, shall we?
Coyle’s performance as Frank is, all in all, solid. And since he’s in every single scene, he helps by keeping the movie watchable. He plays a convincingly reluctant bad guy. When things start going south, you can tell he’s troubled by where he’s forced to go. I liked that about the film.
Zlatko Buric plays Milo, the big cheese who ends up wanting to make Frank disappear from the planet. He makes the slide from Frank’s friend to Frank’s enemy look very easy. His mouth even scares me. It’s terrifying and looks like it would give you a nasty infection. I assume the director thought this too, as Buric plays Milo in the original 1996 version as well. The only redeeming quality about this guy is that he makes a mean baklava. If you listen closely, he even tells you his mother’s secret recipe (someone please make me pistachio baklava).
Now that we’ve got the good stuff out of the way, lets talk about Tony, Frank’s best (and only) friend.
Tony is played by Bronson Webb. I have yet to see Eden Lake, but have heard good things about this guy’s acting in it. Now that I think about it, he was in the first episode of Game of Thrones. I had decent expectations for him, but in this film he plays Frank’s crazy, stupid friend so over the top that you just want to yell “Cut!,” take him to the back, have a chat, and tell him to dial it down a little because we’re not making This Is Spinal Tap. My favorite line however, is, “Whatever the opposite of nervous is, I’m that.” Or something to that effect.
I can’t say that it’s all the actor’s fault. I imagine knowing you’re beating a dead horse by making another British crime movie can’t get you that excited. The dialogue is old and unoriginal, and the story is just like every other drug dealer story you’ve seen. I felt like a psychic, minus the getting paid part, and I don’t get to star in my own TV show called, appropriately, Psych.
Look, I understand not every British movie can have Simon Pegg in it, a blue telephone box that time travels, or a bare-knuckle boxer played by Brad Pitt. I get that, but I feel like I deserve better than this from Great Britain. I spent ten days there this summer and just got peed on the whole time. Then I have to watch this movie. Where is my justice, ‘Merica?