PUSHER | REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

Abundant drugs, guns, violence and death in this raw directorial debut from Nicolas Winding Refn. PUSHER came out nearly 20yrs ago but is still a strong raw film for the genre. Kernel Andrew worships the guy and reviews the movie for you. Thanks to the people at Accent Film we have a couple of copies of the movie to giveaway in special edition sleeved Blu Rays. Find out how to enter down below after sussing out Andrew’s review. PUSHER is rated MA15+ and runs for 105mins. All the best………….JK.

 

PUSHER HORIZONTAL MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
PUSHER | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | HORIZONTAL MOVIE POSTER IMAGE

 

BY ANDREW BRUSENTSEV

Nicolas Winding Refn is one of my favourite directors working today. His lists of achievement read like a touchstone of cinema over recent years. The gritty ultraviolence of BRONSON, to the sublime DRIVE, the almost Wagneresque VALHALLA RISING and the visually stunning although trainwrecky ONLY GOD FORGIVES. He is a film maker par excellence, a film making genius I would say if you find me in the right frame of mind.

One of his least known films is PUSHER. A movie made in 1996 that happens to be the directorial debut of Nicolas Winding Refn. An absolutely ground breaking first time outing. JK will publish the Pusher II review I did later on Salty and I encourage anyone interested in cinema to see all three as they are works of profound power.

The film centres on Frank (played brilliantly by Kim Bodnia). Frank is a low level drug dealer who has been operating on the streets of Copenhagen, he makes good money but wants more. He is always accompanied by his best friend and constant companion Tonny (Mads Mikkelsen who should need no introduction). We first meet Frank in a dire predicament. He owes a large sum of money to some very serious mobsters from Montenegro, led by Milo (played by Zlatko Buric). Although Milo likes Frank his patience is wearing thin. You see Frank is constantly making excuses about getting him the money and producing no results. Frank knows what is bound to happen to him. So when he is approached by an old acquaintance looking to by a large quantity of heroin he sees a way to not only pay back Milo but also to move from the streets to the big time.

 

PUSHER MOVIE IMAGE
PUSHER | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | TONNY MADS MIKKELSEN) AND FRANK (KIM BODNIA)

 

Brazenly he approaches Milo and using the last of his good will gets the merchandise on credit. He is now really in debt and knows that should this fail he is a dead man. The exchange goes terribly wrong, somebody has tipped off police. Barely making it out of the situation Frank has to throw Milo’s drugs into a nearby lake before he is arrested. With no drugs on him Frank is released but this is where his problems start. Milo is now furious. The limits of his affection have ended. He wants immediate compensation otherwise Frank will have to deal with his quiet and sinister assistant Radovan (Slavko Labovic).

This is where the film really takes flight. We accompany Frank on his quest to try and squeeze every last penny from his customers and business associates. But the deadline is looming and it seems all his schemes are turning into dead ends.

The fast paced storyline and compelling performances from all is only half the story of what makes PUSHER so great. There is such a palpable rawness to the production which really adds to the drama that unfolds. From the usage of handheld cameras which make you feel as if you are physically present in the rooms. The naturally lit environments and sets give this an almost documentary style feel. There is also a complete absence of a music soundtrack.

 

PUSHER HORIZONTAL MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
PUSHER | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | HORIZONTAL MOVIE POSTER IMAGE

 

All of this may have something to do with the very low budget that this was filmed under, But instead I think it allowed Refn to squeeze every ounce of juice from both his technical teams, his equipment and his actors. These elements give the movie an incredible grittiness and authenticity which is sometimes missing in these kinds of movies.

Kim Bodnia is absolutely superb as Frank. Frank is a very complex character. In one moment making you feel intense sympathy for his plight then in the next provoking anger or even revulsion at his actions. It really is a superb performance. Bodnia’s acting partners are also in fine form, Mads is once again superb, and equally impressive are Zlatko Buric and Slavko Labovic.

The camera, which it seems, is constantly in motion is the last great character to mention. The camera follows characters in and out of locations making you feel as if you are part of the conversation, action or the intensity of the moment.

 

PUSHER MOVIE IMAGE
PUSHER | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | TONNY MADS MIKKELSEN)

 

When you then think that this is Refn’s first effort as a director the truth finally hits home at how powerful and brilliant this movie really is. I would strongly encourage you once you have viewed this movie to then get Pusher II and Pusher III. It really shows Refn growing in his formidable skills and expanding his canvas and repertoire

This is no cautionary tale about the perils of either crime or drug use, nor is it a glorification of either of these subjects. Rather it is an intense fly on the wall account of people doing a particular job and the awful choices that usually comes along with a lifestyle such as this.

 

4 and a Half Pops

 

With special thanks to Accent Films to win one the 2X BLU RAYS of PUSHER you need to either like and share/ retweet this post on Facebook/Twitter/ Google+/ Pinterest/ LinkedIn/ Flipboard or Instagram (all the links to follow us are on the top right of homepage), you then need to leave a comment below stating the answer/s to the following questions:

Who is your favourite CRIME MOVIE and why? Mine is a toss up – cannot decide between SCRAFACE, HEAT or THE UNTOUCHABLES.

If you do not have social media then get with the times – you can still enter, leave your entry below and email me at jking@saltypopcorn.com.au telling me you don’t have social media (you still need to enter on the website).

Prizes will no longer be awarded to first in first served. It will now be a game of skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges, said judges being the Salty Kernels.

The prizes will be sent after MAR 15th! Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.