Pusher

2012

Directed by Luis Prieto – Written by Matthew Read

Starring: Richard Coyle, Bronson Webb, Agyness Deyn and Mem Ferda

Remakes aren’t normally something I do, or pay attention to, or bother with in any way really – but this time we have a Refn produced remake of a Refn directed film, have to take a gander. Refn has boomed in to success lately with Bronson (2008) and Drive (2011), as a side note, Refn is set to direct Gosling in at least three more films. But before coming in to the forefront he was exploring the same themes in previous films, most notably his Pusher trilogy.

The original was released back in 1996 and is a huge cult flick that deserves so much more. Written and directed by Refn, this is of no less a caliber than his latest work. We follow a brilliantly played Frank through the worst week of his life. This is a mid-level dealer who is part of a botched deal that lands him in unpayable debt to an Eastern European mafia. Verging on cinéma vérité, the audience is presented with an ultra-realistic portrayal of this gritty world; and in true Refn style, the tension builds and builds without a way out presenting itself.

So how does 16 years change a brilliant film, and has Refn made sure it lives up to the original?

This time written by a Matthew Read of nothing noteworthy – though he has been selected to executive produce Refn’s next film – and directed by a Luis Prieto of nothing I’ve honestly heard of or watched… He could be brilliant for all I know.

It’s the same premise, we follow Frank through a pretty shite week in his life for all the same reasons, you know how a remake works. Zlatko Buric takes on the role he played in the original films as the memorable Milo, a crime boss, and is by far the best performance in this piece.

At the core, Read’s writing is not up to standard and Prieto directs amateurly, the film is less well put together, the characters are less well acted, cinematography is at a lower degree and all for a higher budget than the first time around.

I fear Refn has executive produced this either purely for the money or to just build his profile instead of being in pursuit of making a great film. It’s a strange situation though as he stated he didn’t want to interfere with the remake, his credit is more than likely just because he agreed to let it be made and is not due to his input.

Another pointless remake that hopefully won’t lead to the sequels being done.

3/10

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