Back in 1996, Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) made his directing debut with Pusher, a giddily hectic crime drama about a few desperate days in the life of a small-time Copenhagen drug dealer. Sixteen years later, Spanish director Luis Prieto has relocated the action to London to tell the same tale.
He’s produced a very faithful remake, right down to the casting of the same actor, Zlatko Buric, as the anti-hero’s avuncular nemesis, but what was edgy and exciting in the mid-1990s now fails to deliver the same buzz.
The acting’s excellent, though. Richard Coyle is convincingly wired as self-deluding dealer Frank, who only gets himself deeper into trouble when he embarks on a frantic search for cash to pay off a debt to his supplier, Buric’s Turkish drug kingpin Milo. Bronson Webb is sleazy and annoying as his sidekick (the role played by future Bond villain Mads Mikkelsen in the original). And supermodel Agyness Deyn is surprisingly touching as Frank’s pole-dancer girlfriend.
Prieto shoots their sweaty, addled misadventures with propulsive energy, but for all his film’s slickness, the enterprise feels dated, an impression that’s only enhanced by the throbbing electronic soundtrack from 90s rave icons Orbital.
In cinemas from Friday 12th October.
To activate the sound in the trailer: hold your cursor over the screen to reveal the control panel and click on the volume control in the bottom right-hand corner.