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Frank and Tonny are foul-mouthed, small-time drug dealers who constantly (and comically) brag about their squalid sexual exploits. But when a drug deal goes bad and Frank is arrested then released for lack of evidence, he finds himself in deep debt with a ruthless Yugoslav dealer who wants his money now. Frank, believing he's been betrayed by Tonny, takes revenge, making one desperate ploy after another as his life spirals into a nightmare of bad choices. Though clearly influenced by recent hipster movies such as Trainspotting and Pulp Fiction, a truer ancestor to Pusher is Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets. Pusher is brutally realistic and rigorously unsentimental--there are no flashy camera tricks. The movie takes into account the occasional moment of gentleness in Frank's troubled relationship with a prostitute but doesn't use that to exonerate him. And yet, despite everything, Frank is sympathetic simply because he's human. The performances are excellent, the editing sharp and propulsive, the violence is spare but extremely effective. Pusher slowly draws its net tighter and tighter, until every moment seems charged with menace. --Bret Fetzer
- Featurette: On the Edge: Making Of "Pusher"
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Top customer reviews
The plot is quite simple and not really that original. We meet Frankie, a small time drug dealer in Denmark, who is a little behind in his payments to his supplier. A good size deal he runs into, along with a deal he is doing on the side, should put him well ahead. He has to ditch the dope in the one deal to avoid a bust and now is WAYYYYYY behind. The side deal goes bad and things just get worse and worse.
This is a gritty telling of a gritty tale. Kim Bodnia, who plays Frankie, is in essentially every scene and he does a great job. You really get to know him and feel for him. Yes he's a dealer, but somehow he doesn't seem like such a bad guy. It were as though he fell into the life because he didn't know what else to do. There are a string of clients that owe him money so you realize he's not a really violent guy, that is, until things go south and he lets out the beast. Then you see some uber-violence.
This is all done with hand held camera, natural sets and lighting. Even the sound seems to have been recorded live. The sound track ping-pongs between euro-electronic and some nasty, violent heavy metal, and it really adds to the tension of the proceedings. You feel less like a viewer and more like a participant. It's as though you're in every scene with the characters, and it's mighty uncomfortable.
The end leaves you hanging and sets you up for the next two installments. And now that I've seen this, and realize its great quality, I'll grab parts 2 and 3. This is really four and a half stars. Movies just don't get much better than this.
The plot involves a midlevel heroin dealer who finds himself in a tight spot when he becomes indebted to a local crime boss. He can't shoot his way out of it like every crime/action movie from the last twenty years. He's got to do what he knows to try and pay off his debt.
Crime movies became very stylized in the nineties. Sometimes they got a little silly.
Pusher isn't anywhere near silly. Because it's shot mostly with a mobile handheld camera you'll forget you're watching a movie about twenty minutes into the story. It's got style, but it's never at the expense of substance. The characters seem real enough to make mistakes that are human but also absolutely damning. Underworld types are shown durring the usual routine of the day, but the story never feels slow and no scene is a waste.
Tired of watching formulaic movies featuring drug dealers with dreams, hitmen with hearts and stunning, savy prostitutes? Watch this movie. See a despicable dirtbag who will use anyone around him. You'll know who these people are, but you won't feel like you know what's going to happen next.
Frank is about to live the worst nightmare of his life when everything is out of control. He works as a dealer and then the random makes its appearance and suddenly he finds himself stranded in the middle of nohere with a debt of 230.000 euros.
Tense, brutal and hyperkinetic drama with Copenhague's streets as huge frame.
One of the top twenty cult movies of the Nineties.
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