At a glance:
If you ever knew a drug dealer, then Pusher is an exercise in déjà vu of great nihilistic pleasure. All grit and grain with no glamour, embattled filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn (writer and director of films like Valhalla Rising and Bronson) made this outstandingly powerful film about a week in life of a drug dealer that went on to spawn two sequels. It's a pressure cooker of a movie that delivers some remarkable resonance, as we follow Copenhagen crime through the eyes of Kim Bodnia's character Frank (foreground), a disenchanted pusher who has to deal with his best mate Tonny (Mads Mikkelsen, background) and prostitute girlfriend Vic (Laura Drasbæk), not to mention the Serb kingpin Milo played by Zlatko Buric and his burly henchman Radovan (Slavko Labovic). It's the smilin gangsters that get you shivering; and that's where Pusher hits all the right notes, despite bein hand-held and unintentionally underlit presumably due to budget constraints.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Somehow didn't go down the annals of cult cinema like how La Haine (1995) did. Sure launched some Danish careers though.
Can Mads Mikkelsen fight as good as he looks?
Watch out for:
Scary scenes involving Serbian sociopaths and Danish dealers who seriously don't like being a few kroner short.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Four stars. It's moment after moment of dog-eat-dog and how a form of friendship actually does exist in the most perverse of situations. If you were ever in financial desperation, watch this movie as your glimmer of hope.