Luis Prieto’s sanitised update of Nic Refn’s 1996 debut apes virtually everything in the original, but unfortunately forgot all the verve and urgency. Savvy but small-fry drug-peddler Frank (Coyle), inexplicably paired with potty-mouthed sub-Inbetweeners brat Tony (Webb), gets himself in bother after the collapse of a much, MUCH too good to be true deal. 50k in the hole to initially benevolent (aren’t they all?) kingpin Milo (Buric), Frank has a couple of days to raise the funds or lots of bad stuff will happen. Cue boredom.
Admirable for never painting the protagonists as anything short of odious, the nihilistic tone, sporadically atmospheric club scenes and thumping Orbital score are about all Pusher has going for it. Repetitive, silly and puerile, Prieto’s film is also wholly lacking any visual flair or originality; the reliance on cynical, time-worn genre clichés compounding the crippling ennui. To be fair, any film delighting in a comedy Paul Kaye cameo was always going to struggle. [Chris Fyvie]