Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Pusher" (Language - Danish) (1996) - Movie Review

Even the dark and tragical gangster films have a redemption and a glamour to that field of work. Martin Scorsese albeit that short lived glory of people in “Goodfellas” did have a better finish. Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Pusher” is raw meat of a livelihood in that one week any drug dealer do not want to happen. The drug pusher is Frank (Kim Bodnia) and he will meet that one week. It is not a question of whether he will survive but this is the backstory the film world generally make it happen off the camera or polish it for aesthetics. This is a documentary and evokes the same effect.

Told entirely following Frank, it begins as it would have been like any other week. Frank and his buddy Tonny (Mads Milkensen) loiter around the city and do drug dealing. Then have crass sex conversations in the car. Frank does the job because he knows every one around and every one of course likes him. Who will not? He is easy to get along and appears level headed. This week would have been like any other week as it looks like but this is when things do not go one’s way.

There are key characters in Frank’s unique week of debacle. The main people are Milo (Zlatko Buric) and his muscle man Radovan (Slavko Labovic), the call girl he will not sleep with or will not be even a little intimate Vic (Laura Drasbæk). There are others becoming witness or victim to the deterioration of Frank. Frank gets his supplies from Milo and he gets one big order. It is a big score but then again this is how his week works. Adding to the 50K he owes Milo, he gets 120K worth of drugs next day for the deal promising to be back with the cash. The deal goes wrong with the cops busting him. Now he is 170K down with Milo and no drugs on his hand.

Now you will be wondering on the scheme of crazy things Frank will try to get the money and then it will go wrong again and then it will be adventurous, funny and finally fulfilling action dark comedy with him getting off surprisingly. Every thing happens till the wrong part and the film is quite adamant on showing this man’s position of being stuck, cornered and eventual end. This is Guy Ritchie’s films going darkly unfunny.

The film is audacious and begins taking this crazy stand of objectivity. This man of connections and friends becomes into something else as the day progresses. He acts out of desperation and cluelessness. He does not have a plan and he believes in being elusive. Get one more day and may be one more till the greatest friends become his worst nightmare. In the midst of this he behaves as a jerk to the only human shedding some form of love and he treats her like door mat. This is not a nice person and that is how the trade works.

Refn developed this movie from a short film he made as an application for his film school. He got rejected and he decided to make it a full feature. He found funding some how and began this work and boy it is unbelievable professional film making. This became a cult Danish film and it is no wonder why it succeeded. Almost all the films how much ever realistic one tries to shoot it carries a sense of style and that cannot be called tainting but another step away from the actuality. Refn’s film is ridiculously pure in capturing the life. They remove all sorts of prejudice, assumption and any sort of glamour attached to this profession.

Frank played by Kim Bodnia can only be called magnificent and he brings out the real emotions in the other characters. The best though is Milo’s character played with Zlato Buric in my opinion gives a deadly drug lord in the history of gangster. He does not make that person fancy. He makes him funny but as genuine it can be. He is deadly when the time comes but that too is not a style.

Everything about this film dangerously brings the doubt whether it is real. It does not run as a mockumentary or even docudrama. This is more than documentary. As if some one took a camera and ran behind a drug dealer during his breakdown of a week. There is nothing about hope or redemption. This is life on the street taking over the screen with almost next to nothing modification. As much as clinical the film makes its characters, “Pusher” is revolutionary filming. And I cannot wait to see the remaining two films in the trilogy.

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