Thursday 17 September 2009

Review: Push

Year: 2009
Director: Paul McGuigan
Screenplay: David Bourla
Starring: Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Camilla Belle, Djimon Hounsou,

Push got a hard time when released and it's easy to understand why. It's nothing new in any shape or form. In fact when watching it, I compared it to X-men meets Total Recall. It is very derivative of other sci-fi. With this said, the film, with it's patchy narrative and "been there" tone is still a good laugh.

A film like Push need energy to keep it going and this movie has it in spades. Despite being slightly confused by it's naff exposition that crops up from time to time, McGuigan makes sure that the film is never boring. In an era where comic book style movies feel that they need a grand statement to be interesting, Push is good natured enough just to go with the flow, without slipping into monotonous storytelling.

What I enjoyed about McGuigan's film is that the action sequences still feel fresh and fun despite being seen in many a film before. your pushers, bleeders, shadows and what not are nothing new. However, once again, much like District 9, Push is placed in an completely different setting that invigorates the set pieces. It's great to see a film like this set in the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong (the whole film was filmed there) and McGuigan's reason behind filming there (a riff on Casablanca) gives me a a warm fuzzy feeling inside.

Despite having a patchy script with badly introduced characters, the glue that holds the set pieces together are the performances. Chris Evans once again shows that he's a charming actor and has more than enough charisma for a film like this. His chemistry with Datoka Fanning (who once you get past those manga eyes is growing up to be a great actress) is one that is sorely missed by movies with a bigger budget than this one. In fact it's much stronger than the relationship with the forgettable (yet attractive) Camilla Belle that fails to truly sizzle.

Another acting damp squib stems from the chief villain played by Dijimon Hounsou, although this stems more from having a character with little to do than sneer.

For the most part, Push works well enough, even the films twists (something I telegraphed too easily in McGuigan's Lucky Number Slevin) worked with me due to the pulpiness of the genre. McGuigan's interest in time manipulation and perception once again plays a part in the movie and I found myself very invested in what he had to say about it, despite seeing it done better in other films.

A fun film that may provide strong background noise on a night out. Don't worry about what the characters say, it's not as interesting as it could be.