★★★★ Pusher (series) (1996)
Danish writer-director Nicolas Winding Refn achieved cult status with his feature film debut, the tale of a small-scale pusher named Frank (Kim Bodnia) who blows a big-time heroin deal and gets in trouble with a powerful drug lord (Zlatco Buric). As the week drags on, Frank scrambles to pay back the money he lost, but his attempts to raise serious cash take him into dangerous territory. Mads Mikkelsen co-stars.
REVIEW: Nicolas Winding Refn’s debut about a petty drug dealer in Copenhagen who finds himself in debt to a Serbian drug lord. Kim Bodnia plays Frank, a dope pusher who isn’t the brightest guy, or the most ruthless. He spends his days mostly cruising around with his best friend Tonny (the great Mads Mikkelsen) chatting about their weidest sexual experiences, and acts chummy with the local drug kingpin, a Serbian named Milo (Zlatko Buric). But when he finds himself grossly in debt to Milo, with building interest, he starts desperately looking for a way out. The characters are all fleshed out realistically, and this once there is no one who is so bad you can’t like them. Most impressive is the character of Milo’s bodyguard, Radovan (Slavko Labotic), who dreams of quitting the life and opening a restaurant, but proves extremely ruthless and effective in his line of work.
Pusher is a refreshing hidden gem in the wofully overcrowded action film genre. The movie comes alive with a gritty depth that we rarely see today. The acting is first-rate and there are scenes in this movie that will stick with you for years… but in a good way. Fair warning – this one is violent. Think Scarface chainsaw scene. If you’re cool with that kind of thing, Pusher will be right up your alley.
Pusher I is the first movie in a series of three. Though each film can be appreciated independently of the other three, I’d suggest watching them in order as each is a continuation of the last.
(Length: 105 min Genre: Crime/Thriller Language: Danish)