Release Date: August 18th, 2006 (Cinema Village) by Magnolia Pictures.
The Cast: Kim Bodnia, Zlatko Buric, Mads Mikkelsen, Laura Drasbaek, Slavko Labovic, Peter Andersson, Anja Bajicic.
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.
In Danish and Swedish with subtitles.
BASIC PREMISE: Frank (Bodnia), a drug dealer, must find a way to pay a large debt to Milo (Buric), a drug baron.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Pusher kicks into full gear from the very first scene as Frank gets into a lot of serious trouble which may cost him his very own life. When the cops chase him after an unsuccessful heroin deal, he dumps the heroin into a lake before getting taken into custody. He now has one week to pay huge sum of money to Milo, an intimidating drug baron who shouldn’t be messed with—kind of the The Godfather. When he gets released from custody due to lack of evidence, he spends the rest of the time desperately trying to repay Milo. Nicolas Winding Refn directs with plenty of visual style with emphasis on lighting, color and fast-paced editing, but without any of the hypnotic, dizzying visual gimmicks found in Requiem for a Dream. Refn does a superb job of escalating the dramatic tension while including enough character development to actually care about Frank and his predicament. Inevitably, there are some scenes of gruesome violence yet none of them seem too excessive or redundant; instead, they just add to the realism of the drug world. Kim Bodnia gives a very convincing performance as Frank and makes him surprisingly likeable—at least you’re able to root for him as he goes through a slippery slope, so-to-speak, throughout the second act. In terms of plot and the energetic pacing, this film essentially seems like a more realistic, conventional version of Run Lola Run with a longer deadline for the protagonist, yet still manages to be thoroughly exciting and absorbing.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Other than the obvious dangers of being the drug world, none is required or desired.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: A visually stylish, suspenseful thriller. As absorbing as The Godfather and as exciting as Run Lola Run.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "P" Menu