Tuesday, September 11, 2012

TIFF 2012: Agyness Deyn in "Pusher"

Director Luis Prieto's Pusher is the UK re-imagining of the the Danish cult film of the same name (originally directed by Drive's Nicholas Winding Refn).

[pictured above: model/singer, Agyness Deyn, in her first major film role]

The story follows drug dealer Frank (Richard Coyle) who's in over his head when he borrows a kilo of cocaine from his supplier, Milo (Zlatko Burić, reprising his role from the original film), for a quick transaction. As the deal goes down, the police swoop in for the bust, but Frank eludes them by dropping the evidence in a pond. Although safe from conviction, Frank is not safe from Milo, who wants his money or else. Unable to pay him, Frank resorts to desperate measures to score the cash within Milo's short window of time -- all the while, destroying his friendships and relationship with his stripper girlfriend, Flo (Agyness Deyn).

I have not seen Refn's Pusher so I can only review this film on its own merits. Prieto's Pusher is intense and is guaranteed to elevate heart rates. His sometimes erratic direction effectively demonstrates the hellish path that Frank descends to pay back his debt. When Frank attempts to escape Milo's wrath with Flo, it's hard not to recall the tense-filled climax of De Palma's Carlito's Way -- and that's no small compliment.

Prieto and Deyn were in attendance at my screening and when asked if his Pusher would receive the same trilogy treatment as the original, his producer quickly stepped in to say: "you tell us!" Certainly, the film's ending opens up the possibility of a sequel. Whether that happens or not depends on audiences and the box-office.

Pusher opens in the United States in October and possibly in Canada next fall.

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