Home  >  Movies & TV  >  Movie Reviews

Movie & TV Reviews

Review: 'Pusher'

Posted 2:52pm on Thursday, Nov. 01, 2012

R (pervasive drug content, strong language, strong sexuality, nudity, violence); 88 min.

Pusher is a straight, no chaser thriller set on the bottom rung of the drug-trade ladder. A remake of a 1996 Danish thriller, it's a pulsating, propulsive and nerve-wracking film that breathes new life into a genre whose tropes wore out long ago.

The characters include a pusher in over his head, his mouthy friend, his stripper-junkie girlfriend, the "mule" about to run to "the 'Dam" (Amsterdam) for him and the Middle Eastern muscle who expects payment for debts overdue. Luis Prieto, working with producer Nicolas Winding Refn, who directed Drive and the original Pusher, pushes the pace so that those over-familiar settings, situations and characters don't stand still long enough to grow stale.

British TV vet Richard Coyle is Frank, a low-rent drug dealer with a model-skinny girlfriend (Agyness Deyn) who pole-dances at night and shoots up or snorts during the day. Frank's pal Tony (Bronson Webb) chatters away to one and all and stumbles into trouble from which Frank must rescue him.

A deal that's too good to be true has Frank going into hock with his supplier pal, Milo, played with a malevolent brio by Zlatko Buric, who had the same role in the original film and a 2010 version of the same tale. Milo is a back-slapping baklava-lover, until Frank is late paying him back.

Pusher may be Layer Cake and a score of other got-to-get-the-money thrillers remade. But the unblinking, unglamorous world it captures, the fear that overcomes guilt and regret as Frank's debt takes on tragic consequences, make it pop and give this tired tale of the drug trade life anew.

Exclusive: Angelika Dallas

-- Roger Moore,

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?

Hey there. or join DFW.com. Your account. Log out.

Remember me

We now have a new, simpler way for you to enter and search for events, at listings.dfw.com. As always, when you submit an event to appear online, it will also be available for us in our print publication. But now you can simply enter your event and provide an email address, rather than creating a separate account and registering. Our new listings tool is still a work in progress, so we appreciate your patience as we fine-tune it. Please contact us at hsvokos@dfw.com if you have any questions or concerns.