Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

"Richard Coyle is decent in the title role, his engaging lead performance is a solid, if not star making turn."

Frank (Richard Coyle) is a "pusher" - a small-time drug-dealer selling bags of recreational drugs to party-goers. He's a charming, somewhat easy-going guy who's got connections and friends, and a couple of thousand quid stashed away for impending rainy days. As the genre dictates, he's preparing for several big scores: persuading a barely willing mule to stuff £18k of unspecified gear up her nether-regions, and delivering several kilos of cocaine to a former prison associate.

It doesn't go to plan. The police get involved, Frank ends up owing a lot of money, and his thinly connected world gradually falls apart. The story is a sequence of Frank's efforts to salvage whatever cash he can lay his hands on from friends, family and associates. All before the police catch up with him or the local crime boss's enforcer rips his kneecaps off with a crowbar.

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Richard Coyle is decent in the title role, his engaging (although overly likable, for a drug dealer) lead performance is a solid, if not star making turn. Frank's stripper girlfriend, Flo (Agyness Deyn) makes an impression, in spite of her inept characterisation. Their scenes together are the film's best - they contain Pusher's only real emotion.

The other characters are one-sentence ciphers. The first sequence in the film is a one minute slab of quickly-paced footage which baffles its audience while introducing us to the players. There is barely any further refinement. It's as though similar efforts at scene setting in Guy Ritchie's Snatch weren't broad strokes of humour. We learn almost nothing of substance or importance about the motley collection of script shavings beyond this opening minute.

Beyond this, the film lacks narrative drive. It attempts to compensate with a superior electronic soundtrack by Orbital and the sound and intra-scene editorial fury that became overused when Tony Blair won power. It's a superbly photographed film, lurid and pulpy compositions shot with gorgeous tricked-out high-definition video. This lends it a false immediacy and potency which do not disguise from the startling lack of engaging characters.

Reviewed on: 16 Oct 2012
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A London drugs dealer finds himself on the wrong side of a ruthless Mr Big. Remake of the 1996 feature.
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Director: Luis Prieto

Writer: Matthew Read

Starring: Richard Coyle, Bronson Webb, Agyness Deyn, Mem Ferda, Zlatko Buric, Paul Kaye, Bill Thomas, Neil Maskell, Daisy Lewis, Ray Callaghan, Badria Timimi, Adam Foster, Richard Shanks, Shend, Joanna Hole

Year: 2012

Runtime: 86 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


EIFF 2012

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