Pusher - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Pusher Reviews

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½ June 4, 2016
3.4/5
Doesnt really add too much to the drug-crime genre, and even for its great characters and setting it can get a bit tiring some times, but what it offers is a tense and very well made and thought out thriller with plenty of style and edgy but clever moments.
½ May 27, 2016
A great start to a great trilogy.
May 12, 2016
A solid start to a solid trilogy.
January 4, 2016
A good start where everything goes wrong. Poor Frank.
September 6, 2015
Tough and gritty european movie which can challenge some top-notch american films with its realism.
Super Reviewer
August 19, 2015
It fizzes with energy but it's a tough watch, and don't expect a happy ending.
½ July 15, 2015
Frenetic, violent first picture from Nicolas Winding Refn, in keeping with much of his subsequent work. Mikkelson is always in interesting character actor but here Kim Bodnia is a worthy counterpart, a real physical presence.
July 12, 2015
On the edge of your seat. Somehow nothing really happens but you are always tense.
April 4, 2015
Having seen most of Nicolas Winding Refn's recent work, it was kind of awkward going back to his debut feature film. While it does show flashes of brilliance, hints of what Refn's style would develop into, for the most part it's your typical "mid-level drug dealer gets in over his head" film that has been many times before (and better). PUSHER follows Frank, a Danish drug dealer who is about to make this huge deal with some Swedes. However, at the moment the deal is about to go down, the cops show up and he has to dump the dope in the river. This puts him in some serious debt to Milo, a Serbian drug lord, and the rest of the film is Frank trying to get the money to pay him back. Before watching this, I did scope a few reviews just to see what kind of film I was getting into, and one comparison I saw a few times was with MEAN STREETS. While I can see the surface similarities, ultimately PUSHER doesn't have as many likeable characters and feels more amateurish. Since I don't speak Danish, I can't really say whether the acting was good for sure, but it didn't seem too bad. The production values were also pretty good for a low-budget indie film. Even the script and dialogue weren't too bad. My favorite parts were in the first 20-30 minutes when Frank and his best friend, Tonny (Mads Mikkelsen), share some Tarantino-esque exchanges about whatever was on their minds at the time. However, once the plot kicks in, whatever sense of fun the film had before was all but gone. I don't mind gritty realism, and the cinema verite style in which the film is shot was handled quite well, but I never connected with the story all that much. It also didn't help that Frank was such an unlikeable prick. For my money, Tonny was the most interesting character, but he's not in the film for too long. Fortunately I am aware that Tonny is the focus of the the sequel, so it has that much going for it. Ultimately, PUSHER is a well-made film that shows some of the talent that Refn would later put to great use, but the story has been done many times before, and better.
½ December 12, 2014
a great 1st film from Nicholas winding refn... it was a solid piece of filmmaking; solid story, good acting, alright cinematography(the did is awfully dark... so hard to judge). a good film and worth a watch(probably not worth a second though)
November 10, 2014
This is NOT a polished Hollywood film this is brass knuckles Indie at its very best!
½ November 10, 2014
After Refn made an unsuccessful English-language debut with 2003's "Fear X," he returned to Denmark to shoot parts two and three of "The Pusher Trilogy." But the new films aren't a continuation, and the layoff didn't dull Refn's ability to tell an engaging crime story. In "Pusher 2: With Blood On My Hands," the film explores a drug-dealer's former sidekick as he deals with new challenges in the world of crime, drugs, and becoming a father.

Frank's ex-sidekick from the first film, Tonny, wonderfully played by Mads Mikkelsen is fresh out of prison. Tonny is eager to prove his worth as earner and son to his crime boss father (Leif Sylvester Petersen), known as the Duke. Routinely called a loser by everyone he knows -- he practically invites abuse by sporting a tattooed "respect" on the back of his bald head. Tonny also tries to ingratiate himself with his recalcitrant father (Leif Sylvester Petersen), who can hardly trust him with anything. The back-breaking straw is the appearance of a baby that Tonny's old non-girlfriend (Anne Sorensen) claims is his. The bitterness and betrayal mounts as Tonny begins to wonder if he should rewrite his life, and the fate of the neglected infant.

At its core, the film about is about broken families and serves as a stark reminder of the lasting effects on our actions can have on future generations. Tonny's entire life has been spent on only one thing: trying to gain the approval of his father. And not only that he learns on his release that he is very likely the father of a baby boy, one so neglected by his junkie mother that he hasn't even been given a name yet. Refn is painting a bleak picture of a child without a chance. He is in complete control behind the camera, but this film belongs purely and simply to Mikkelsen. He is absolutely stunning, flawlessly embodying the insecurities and desire that drives Tonny. Against all odds, Tonny becomes a sympathetic hero in an increasingly tragic tale. It's not hard to spot the need that drives his self-destructive behavior: it's practically written all over his face - or at least the back of his head.
½ August 29, 2014
Nicolas Winding Refn's impressive film debut is unrelentingly fierce and gritty; it's almost cinema verite style in service to gripping story bolstered by Kim Bodnia's lead turn.
½ August 20, 2014
Doesn't have Refn's signature style that he developed in later years, but "Pusher" still captures the drug-and-crime-related thematic elements that he focused on later in "Drive" and "Only God Forgives". So instead of being a beautifully shot but horrifically violent crime movie, which I'm pretty sure Refn does as a metaphor, you're instead looking at the characters with disgust and confusion, wondering what went wrong to put them in such a shitty environment and why they keep pulling themselves lower and lower. It doesn't feel like a Refn film, but it does play like one.
July 19, 2014
9,5/10
One if my favorites, Refn genius shit
July 11, 2014
One of the best Danish films I have watched to date.
TheDudeLebowski65
Super Reviewer
June 19, 2014
At 26 years of age Nicolas Winding Refn made his feature length debut with Pusher, a flawless piece of filmmaker that ranks among his very best films. I would put this film ahead of Drive and Bronson, and here is the work of a director who has a take no prisoners approach to making films and crafts one of the most stunning crime dramas that I have seen in quite some time. He would later follow up this film with two more sequels, all terrific, and with a great story, exceptional acting, and pulse pounding, raw intensity, Pusher is a superb film that is very impressive considering the fact that that Refn made this in his twenties. Pusher is highly engaging from start to finish and is a memorable crime drama that will stay with you long after you've seen it. Refn has an eye for what makes a good crime film, and with Pusher he would prove himself as a talented filmmakers with many other films. Pusher is a standout debut, and it's one of the most impressive film debuts I've seen since Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. Brilliantly effective, raw, gritty filmmaking, Pusher is an accomplished picture that tells an engrossing story. Refn doesn't overdo the subject, which in turn makes the film much better, simple ideas make for great cinema, and with Pusher you get just that. This is a brilliant picture of which that shows that Nicolas Winding Refn was able to make a standout picture using so little. The cast deliver some solid performances, and it elevates the story even more. Combine that with standout direction from Winding Refn, and you have a near perfect picture that is much more elaborate in its ideas and entertainment value than big budget Hollywood movies. This is raw cinema, a piece of film so riveting that you won't be able to tear yourself away right up to the final shot.
½ May 6, 2014
Excellent film, I would love to see the rest of the trilogy!!!!
April 10, 2014
Nice little dirty crime movie.
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