When do you root for the bad guy in a film? When everyone else is worse. That is sort of what you deal with in the new R rated crime thriller, PUSHER. There really are no upstanding individuals in the story, yet the main character is still likeable enough that you want to see him try and get his life right and make at least one smart decision.
Frank (Richard Coyle) is a street smart drug dealer in London. He knows the business and transacts with his numerous clients with an approachable demeanor. Things fall apart when a drug deal goes bad and Frank ends up owing the wrong people a lot of money. The movie follows one week in his life when everything spirals out of control and Frank has to pull out all stops just to stay alive. What he goes through from Monday to Sunday will keep your nerves on edge and your teeth clenched in anxious anticipation.
This is a gritty film that doesn’t candy coat the drug world or the sad toll it takes on a person’s life. Even though Frank is a criminal you get the feeling he isn’t necessarily a horrible person. He just makes endlessly bad decisions that compile one on the other. Coyle plays this character perfectly and he expresses numerous emotions in this film; all expertly. Many times you can tell what he is thinking simply by the lines on his face or the worry in his eyes. That is important or it is just becomes a film where you don’t care who lives or dies.
Frank’s on and off girlfriend is played by Agyness Deyn. She too gives you a sense of loneliness and desperation. Again you get the idea that this is certainly not the life she wanted but she is here due to bad choices. She wants a way out and the fretfulness is believable. In fact all of the performances elevate Pusher above your typical gritty drug drama. Even the cinematography and editing give you a more heightened experience into their world. It will cause you to stop and thank the maker that you are where you are in your own life. Unless you are a drug dealer running for your life; then you might find it a tad boring and too close to home.
PUSHER is rated R for pervasive drug content and language, some strong sexuality, nudity and violence. No question that it is an adult film and only for those who can take a visual punch to the face. It is heart pounding and intense. There are times when I found myself holding my breath. This is mainly due to the solid acting and expert filming. When a filmmaker can make you feel like you are in the room with the characters and in the same danger that is a solid accomplishment. I give it 4 out of 5 Google calendars. Not a film for everyone. But a near perfect one for the genre.