johnlink ranks PUSH (2009)

After seeing this movie I started thinking of films which try to introduce and establish their own mythology in a single film. I thought of SOUTHLAND TALES and how it never quite lived up to the epic scope it wanted. I thought of the first MATRIX film and how it created its own world. PUSH is somewhere between these two. There is an absolute sense of place and purpose to PUSH, but it’s not quite as cool or groundbreaking a film as the MATRIX. But since I came in to this with very little expectation, I found myself enjoying much more than I thought I would.

PUSH is the story of people with abilities being chase by people who want to harness these abilities.

I watched PUSH (2009) at movie night on 10.22.09. It was my first viewing of the film.



Director Paul McGuigan (LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN) does an inspired job of putting this story together. I can pinpoint when I knew I would like his choices. Early on, we see a flashback to a moment we witnessed earlier in the film. A piece of information was given which is important. Most films wait until the moment immediately after that information becomes relevant to show that tossback; as if to say ‘Remember this?’ I hate that. McGuigan, instead, places it a few moments before in a barrage of images. I hate when directors treat me like I’m stupid, and this one does not. He lets me figure things out on my own, and follow along with the different abilities, trying to figure out which one is a ‘bleeder’ and which one is a ‘pusher’. This is not high art, but it is at least an entertaining film which rewards intelligent and attentive viewing.

I really like the way this film was shot. Set and filmed in Hong Kong, various film stocks and lighting techniques are utilized to achieve a gritty, foreign feel. And whoever was location scouting did a fantastic job. The interiors looked absolutely other-worldly, particularly some of the hotel spots. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this film. SCORE: 7


This thing bounces along quickly, though it focuses as much on the character work as the action sequences. I think the strength of this movie lies in that fact exactly, that we aren’t meant to just ooh and aah at the various powers and beatdowns, but we are meant to care about these characters. For the most part, I did. SCORE: 8


It is funny to think that it is the performance of a newly teenaged Dakota Fanning which grounds this film in reality, but it is true. Chris Evans is a solid, though unspectacular leading man. Djimon Honsou is a decent villain, and Camilla Belle does a serviceable job as the girl in trouble. But it is Fanning’s commitment to this young girl who is, in turns, jealous, angry, frustrated, defiant, and then (best of all) this vulnerable thirteen year-old-girl who is in way over her head. SCORE: 6


David Bourla writes this film. He is not a heavily credited writer, and his highest profile work up to this point was directing several installments in the ‘THUMB’ series (i.e. FRANKENTHUMB, BAT THUMB, and THE GODTHUMB). I have to rate the writing here in two ways. First of all, his mythology and character development are stellar. We are thrown into this world with little in the way of a map or compass and asked to stick along, and we do thanks to his dialogue and the weight his characters give to the past. However, the story of this specific movie is somewhat inconsistent. The Watchers of this film see the future, only we learn that what they really see are people’s decisions, so they see the future due to what people will decide to do. To get around this, Nick writes letters giving himself and others instructions and has his memory wiped. The result is that the Watchers cannot see what will happen next. However, Cassie CAN still see. I’m still not sure how erasing a memory of a decision still prevented you from MAKING that decision. Maybe I need to watch it again. All in all, though, this movie moves along quickly enough to hide some of those logic gaps. My overall feeling of the work the writer did is positive. SCORE: 6



7+8+6+6+0= 27


~ by johnlink00 on October 23, 2009.

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