TIFF Review: Pusher

Richard Coyle in Pusher

Frank (Richard Coyle) is a drug dealer having a really bad week. After naively believing he had a sure thing on his hands, he finds himself in debt to his supplier, Milo (Zlatko Burić, who also played this role in the original). Nothing goes according to plan, and soon he’s beating up his best friend, betraying his girlfriend, running from Milo’s henchmen and trying to save his sorry life, or perhaps more importantly, his humanity.

Director Luis Prieto a very glossy remake of the Danish original by  Nicolas Winding Refn. The pace is tight, the music is thumping (a driving score by techno-icons Orbital really helps the atmosphere) and the grimy underworld of small time drug pushers is made to look even dirtier with a generous dose of glitter and neon. An amazing performance by Coyle anchors the film, and  model-turned-actress Agyness Deyn gives it her all as his stripper girlfriend. Burić is as brilliant as Milo as he was in the Danish films. The only performance that’s somewhat lacking is that of Frank’s snivelling sidekick, played by  Bronson Webb. That’s not because Webb does a bad job. It’s simply because it’s damn hard to be compared to the ever-brilliant Mads Mikkelsen, who originated the role.

Whether you’re a fan of the original or just in the market for a good thriller, Pusher delivers on some great action and a few good laughs along the way.

Is Pusher Essential TIFF Viewing?

This is the kind of glitzy film full of edgy, cool, up & coming stars that’s fun to see at a festival. The film will definitely benefit from being seen in an enthusiastic and engaged packed house. Plus,  Nicolas Winding Refn produced it, so if you’re worried it’ll suffer from being a remake, don’t worry. It’s got his stamp of approval.

Pusher Screening Times

  • Friday September 7, 2012 at 9:00 pm at The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
  • Sunday September 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm at Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 10

More About This Movie

Pusher Production Gallery


Katarina Gligorijevic is a Toronto based writer and major movie nerd whose work has appeared in two Coach House Books anthologies, Point of View magazine, Exclaim!, and several other online and print publications. In addition to Toronto Film Scene, she maintains her own blog, and is currently working on a novel about abductions and communicating with pears, and a screenplay about a sexy werewolf.

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