Sunday, February 08, 2009

"Push" (2009) - Movie Review

I had the whole review written in my head when I entered the theatre to view “Push”. I could not take this super heroes genre any more. It had been enough of people with special powers to merely display the CGI and then have emotional problems. It originated as super heroes and people were not satisfied with one and hence many were given birth upon. It moved from “Superman”, “Spider-Man”, “Batman” to “X-Men” (all the comic fans got to forgive me as “X-Men” is the first film I know of with group of super powered people). And it stooped from bad to worse in “Fantastic Four”. Now “Push”. But I got to eat all those words when the film got over. “Push” is a clever and visual thriller.

Directed by Paul McGuigan with a colourful cinematography by Peter Sova provides ample treat for the eyes. The director’s previous film “Lucky Number Slevin” was a cheap shot at wannabe Tarantino and Guy Ritchie at smart dialogues and stylish visuals falling too short and tried too hard. Here he gets it perfect with the right casting and a good plot. “Push” needless to be said focuses on a group of individuals with special abilities. Drawing the future, tracking them, putting memories and other powerful physical abilities were a result of, yes “Nazi Experiment” enhanced. There has to be a government agency who only thinks about bad stuff and hence forms the plot device.

The thing is “Push” while says about the “us against them” actually hides us the real purpose which is to put the plot in place. And what a fresh breath of air in seeing the story in Honk Kong rather than the over used and abundantly wasted United States for these films. Always in a crowd in markets with red and pink and flashing wall colours makes it something unusual for a film of this genre. In crawling through the streets of Honk Kong it also shows the both sides of the character of the city. One in the congested apartments, streets and overflowing number of road side shops while the more sophisticated and westernized part of the city with high buildings, high way cafes and neon lighting on immense structures.

When I can write two paragraphs without even mentioning the cast and the plot, you can understand the effect of its presentation and mainly the novelty in a film with a story with no hope of new things in it. Anyways, there lives our handsome young man Nick (Chris Evans, who by the way was also in “Fantastic Four”) as a kid saw his dad (Joel Gretsch) killed by the “Division” agent Henry Carver (Djimon Hounsou). His father clued him that some day a girl with a flower would guide him to do what is necessary. And the girl would be Cassie Holmes (Dakota Fanning). While it sounds so formulaic and cheesy in the sentences, trust the words of mine that it is more than it sounds, a lot more. “Push” would be trashed upon as a regular flair with flashy images which is sad.

Having said all those praises, the film obviously would mess up the logic of space-time continuum. There would be plot holes when rethinking would not make sense but it works on the moment. Writer David Bourla with director clearly understands that showing the stunts with CGI graphics is not the way to go forward. For that matter I would assume even the Studio would have laughed at it. What they know is that to use those as plot pins. See the audience as some one expecting the intelligence and cleverness in the story than looking for mindless action. In that they are spot on.

Dakota Fanning is withering her child actress image and growing up fast. She takes roles where in her maturity of her acting comes in handy for it. In that she is too good. She walks in the group of adults and becomes one without any one being aware of it. Because her capability and the attitude of her being able to carry herself on her own makes every one acknowledge it. At the same time, she is still a kid and that is used in the areas where necessary. “Push” is effective in its acting and mainly the supporting actors who know their material well enough to put in that casual conversation into funny remarks and sometimes moving moments.

“Push” is definitely an entertainer. I would not claim it to be the first great film of 2009 which would be way over the head. But what I can say is that if some one can come up with something so original and dig gold out of nothing, think about with a more solid material to work upon. May be the aspiration for McGuigan came out wrong in “Lucky Number Slevin” but it cannot be more well implemented in “Push”. With an obvious electronic and peppy music by Neil Davidge, this is a film which sadly would go under for its tag line and a more wrongly giving out trailer. I would recommend “Push” for any one who would look for a good thriller done in a better way and appreciates the simple art even in an exhausted characters and setup.

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