In adapting Nicholas Winding Refn’s 1996 cult favorite Pusher, director Luis Prieto stays close to the original material. So close, in fact, that his English-language remake is essentially a scene-for-scene—sometimes line-for-line—transplanting of Refn’s story from the underworld of Copenhagen to its counterpart in London.
In terms of style and thematic substance, this Pusher is a by-the-numbers affair, pumped up on quick-cut adrenaline and gangster posturing. Preito has no distinct visual style—not a single shot or edit calls itself out—and his film lacks the sense of brooding, methodical predetermination that made the Refn picture so compelling. Yet, on balance, Prieto’s Pusher is a perfectly serviceable race-against-the-clock thriller thanks to a powerful lead performance from Richard Coyle. Read the full review