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Based on the edgy and explosive series by visionary director Nicolas Winding Refn, Pusher stars Richard Coyle as a drug dealer who grows increasingly desperate over the course of a week after a botched deal lands him in the merciless clutches of a ruthless crime lord. The more desperate his behavior, the more isolated he becomes until there is nothing left standing between him and the bullet his debtors intend to fire his way.
For more about Pusher and the Pusher Blu-ray release, see Pusher Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on February 19, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Richard Coyle, Bronson Webb, Paul Kaye, Neil Maskell
Director: Luis Prieto
» See full cast & crew
Pusher Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, February 19, 2013
Luis Prieto's "Pusher" (2012) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Momentum Pictures. The supplemental features on the disc include the film's original theatrical trailer; making of featurette; and Q&A session with executive producer Nicolas Winding Refn, director Luis Prieto, and actors Richard Coyle and Agyness Deyn. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
Frank (Richard Coyle, Human Traffic, W.E.), the main protagonist in Spanish director Luis Prieto's Pusher, is a man in his early '30s who is constantly on the move. He lives in London and spends most of his time in the city's trendy bars and nightclubs where he sells drugs. Aside from a lonely striptease dancer who occasionally also works as an escort girl (Agyness Deyn), Frank does not have any real friends.
One day, Frank is approached by an old friend who promises to buy a large amount of cocaine from him. Frank borrows the cocaine from Serbian crime boss Milo (Zlatko Buric, Restless Souls, Pusher), whose men control a large area of the city. However, on the day of the delivery a lot of things that could go wrong do and Frank is forced to run for his life.
Prieto's remake of Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn's 1996 film moves the action from Copenhagen to London and abandons the gritty atmosphere. The majority of the film also takes place in posh bars and nightclubs where great looking people with plenty of cash treat Frank as a savior. These changes give the remake a glitzy look that should appeal to viewers who enjoyed Matthew Vaughn's Layer Cake.
The quick but not as witty as intended to be one-liners that typically populate Guy Richie's films are completely avoided. There are select parts where dark humor is prominent, but the kitsch from Richie's films is indeed missing. All of this keeps Pusher firmly grounded in reality, making it easy to believe that Frank's life is indeed one very dangerous rollercoaster.
Only two of the secondary characters spend a decent amount of time in front of the camera. Milo leaves a memorable impression with his sudden mood changes, while the beautiful striptease dancer earns the viewer's sympathy with her attempts to restore balance in Frank's life. The latter is especially good during the final third of the film where Frank is forced to make a number of difficult decisions.
Kim Gaster's (Milcho Manchevski's Before the Rain) excellent editing provides the film with a steady tempo. There are a few sudden transitions, but the endless quick cuts and zooms that plague so many recent British gangster films and make them look like unusually long TV commercials are missing.
Pusher was shot with the Red One MX camera. Needless to say, it looks incredibly vibrant and crisp. Some of the nightclub scenes, in particular, look astonishingly good (despite the fact that light is seriously restricted). Most close-ups also boast tremendous depth.
The film is also complemented by a superb soundtrack courtesy of British electronic dance veterans Orbital. Most of the tracks have a terrific rhythm and effectively add a great deal of energy to the film. Additional tracks by Lloyd Perrin, Marcus Marr, and Austra are also included. Austra's "Beat and the Pulse" (Still Going Remix), one of the best and most atmospheric vocal tracks in the film, has the attitude some of John Digweed's great early tunes had.
Note: Last year, Pusher was screened at the Cannes Film Festival (Market section). The film was also screened at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, where it was nominated for The Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film.
Pusher Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.39:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Luis Prieto's Pusher arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Momentum Pictures.
Shot with the Red One MX camera, Pusher looks fabulous on Blu-ray. Depth, clarity, and sharpness are excellent throughout the entire film, with select close-ups even looking like digital photographs (see screencaptures #1 and 6). What impresses the most, however, are the sharp and notably vivid colors - there is a wide range of excellent blues, yellows, greens, browns, and blacks. Compression is also very good. I looked around to see if there are any transfer-specific anomalies, such as banding and aliasing, but I did not see any. Lastly, there are no stability issues to report in this review. All in all, I've seen a number of Momentum Pictures releases but Pusher is unquestionably the best looking one to reach my desk since the British distributors started releasing in Blu-ray. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray release. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Pusher Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one standard audio track on this release: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Also included is an audio descriptive track for the visually impaired (DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0). For the record, Momentum Pictures have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they split the image frame and the black bar below it.
Pusher is complimented by a top-notch soundtrack courtesy of British electornic dance veterans Orbital (with additional contributions by Lloyd Perrin, Marcus Marr, and Austra) that gets a tremendous boost. A few of the sequences where gun shots are heard also impress - clarity and especially dynamic intensity are outstanding. The dialog is always crisp, clean, and very easy to follow. Also, there are no audio dropouts or distortions to report in this review.
Pusher Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Pusher Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Luis Prieto's Pusher, a remake of Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn's gritty 1996 thriller, is a minor surprise. It is a very stylish and very well acted film that manages to avoid the genre cliches most recent British gangster films are plagued with. Unless you are a hardcore fan of the original film and cannot even stand the idea of a remake, despite the fact that Refn executive-produced it, give Pusher a chance. Momentum Pictures' presentation of the film is outstanding. RECOMMENDED.
Pusher Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Pusher (2012) Blu-ray - March 25, 2013
Anchor Bay Entertainment will release on Blu-ray director Luis Prieto's Pusher (2012), starring Richard Coyle, Bronson Webb and Agyness Deyn. The release will be available for purchase online and in stores across the nation on June 25th.
• Pusher (2012) - November 7, 2012
Independent British distributors Momentum Pictures have announced that they will release on Blu-ray director Luis Prieto's Pusher (2012), starring Richard Coyle, Bronson Webb and Agyness Deyn. The release will be available for purchase on February 4th.
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