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Movie Details

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Directed By
David Bourla

Written By:
David Bourla

Dakota Fanning, Chris Evans, Camilla Belle, Djimon Hounsou, Cliff Curtis, Maggie Siff, Joel Gretsch, Neil Jackson, Colin Ford, Nate Mooney, Scott Michael Campbell, Brandon Rhea, Hal Yamanouchi, Corey Stoll

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Push (2009)
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Movie Review by Jarrod
February 9th, 2009

'Push' plays almost like a cinematic adaptation of Heroes, and also draws a little from X-Men in the sense that people with supernatural abilities are being pursued by a shadowy government agency known as The Division hoping to use them for military purposes. The plot is considerably more complicated than that; it actually gets rather confusing and convoluted, but its frenetic pacing and sheer entertainment value cover up any gaps in logic. I suppose you would know going in that this is not an intellectually stimulating film; it is a fun action flick with sci-fi elements, with terrific special effects and credible performances, especially from Dakota Fanning, who has, by now, made a successful transition from child star to mature adult actress, showing up here dressed almost like a hooker/punk rocker, but she can handle firearms, and gets a chance to become inebriated.

At the center of the story is Chris Evans as Nick Gant, a so-called "mover"; he can move objects telepathically, and crosses paths with Cassie (Fanning), a "watcher" who has visions of the future and jots them down in a notebook. Nick and Cassie are both in Hong Kong, a good place to hide, with millions of densely packed people, but they eventually are discovered by Henry Carver (Djimon Hounsou), a "pusher" and one of the Division leaders; he and Nick have a stormy past. Carver is really searching for Kira (Camilla Belle), another "pusher" who is the sole survivor of a Division experiment, involving a serum that can enhance mental powers, but unfortunately has killed all those it has been tested on. Kira teams up with Cassie and Nick, trying to evade Carver, while Cassie wants to save her imprisoned mother.

I think I grasped the motives of the Division, and am safely assuming that they did not intend for those test subjects to die, that they are working on an improved formula, but are interested in Kira because she is more powerful than other "pushers", even more powerful than Carver, and what would a face-off between those two be like anyway? A "pusher" can control and manipulate person's thoughts/mind; would it just be a back-and-forth exchange, as they try to influence one another, or would they enlist others to fight for them? The movie feels like it is missing most of its third act, and lacks a proper conclusion, even though it does seem to be shamelessly setting up a sequel (which often does explain bad, or deliberately vague, endings), unless one is already in the works that I don't know about. Shot on-location, the cinematography (from Peter Sova) is fluid, richly textured, and occasionally breathtaking. Fanning is able to create a complex character despite the fact that we know practically nothing about Cassie, and wonder how she has been able to make it on her own, and how she may have gotten to Hong Kong in the first place. Evans is solid, certainly better than he was as The Human Torch in Fantastic Four.

I appreciated how Hounsou tackled the villain role; he exercises restraint and avoids over-the-top theatrics, compare this to the silliness of Samuel L. Jackson in The Spirit; Carver is a menacing and ruthless antagonist, and thankfully not entirely one-dimensional. Interestingly, Carver could also be compared to Jackson's character Roland from Jumper, to which this movie bears a few similarities, but is more competently made. Director Paul McGuigan's previous credits include Lucky Number Slevin and Wicker Park (both with Josh Hartnett).

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