The Pusher Trilogy ~ (Denmark, 1996-2005) ~ Netflix Stream

pusherI first became aware of Nicolas Winding Refn at this year’s Toronto Film Festival, with the dark and somewhat self-consciously ominous, Valhalla Rising. These movies are much more purposeful, set amidst the drug trade of Copenhagen. Dealers and pushers alike, living on the edge. A teetering ponzi scheme of buy-sell-buy before the money is due. When things go wrong, they go really, really wrong.

Refn’s eye never wavers from the violence, although yours may turn away from the screen  in some places. Refn seems to delight in those details that bring and show pain. All three films are leavened with some humor to offset the violence.  Kim Bodnia as Frank is terrific, a mid-level pusher who gets squeezed from all sides. His partner, young Tonny (Mads Mikkelsen), actually speaks in this film (unlike in Valhalla Rising). He’s manic and really just wants to please his buddy Frank. Milo, the local kingpin (Zlatko Buric) wants to be liked, but business is business. Sometimes measures are calledpusher II for.

Pusher 2: With Blood on My Hands, finds Tonny getting released from jail. Trying to live up to his father’s expectations (they are not much for him), trying to make a go of it – if not legit, at least trying to stay out of jail. But there’s always Milo and others with easy money to be made.

Finally, in I’m the Angel of Death: Pusher III, the story moves straight on to Milo. Milo is getting on in years. It’s becoming a young man’s game. Ecstasy? He knows heroin and coke, but he’ll leave the pills, thank you. Younger, more aggressive thugs are nipping at Milo from all sides – and from a wider swath of Eurasia: Turkey, Albania, Poland, Macedonia. Even his daughter, who is celebrating her birthday and her engagement, makes a move on her father’s business.

Refn tops himself here in the gore department as Milo and his former #1 Radovan butcher and gut two other low-lifes. Not for the faint of heart (or stomach), but Refn captures a certain gritty vitality in this trilogy. Trilogy? The door is left open for another, actually. As in all three films, there is no final resolution.

pusher iii♦♦♦




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6 responses to “The Pusher Trilogy ~ (Denmark, 1996-2005) ~ Netflix Stream

  1. PatD

    He’s the same director that did “Bronson” which is getting a lot of buzz, right?

    I became a die-hard Mads Mikkelsen fan after I saw “Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself,” and I’ve made a point of renting all of his movies since then. I even saw “King Arthur” twice, because he spoke English in it. When I rented “After the Wedding,” I became a fan of Susanne Bier’s, and I rented everything by her, which led me to “Brothers,” and that led me to Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Ulrich Thomsen (who seems to be very hot these days), and then Anders Thomas Jensen. If you haven’t seen “Blinkende lygter” (“Flickering Lights” which I have to think is not a very good English translation of the title, but, never mind), rent that asap. It’s was a wonderful surprise. Plus, the Danish triumvirate stars in it (Mikkelsen, Kaas, and Thomsen).

  2. PatD

    BTW, have you watched any of the trailers for the flicks being shown at the Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival? A bunch of them look good:

  3. chazzw

    Bronson, yeah. it hasn’t opened here as yet, but I think I’ll give it a look see when it does. I’ve had “Wilbur…” in my queue for awhile, not realizing Mads was in it. I’ve moved it up.

    Fliff! You oughta hike on down and take in a few of those. It looks like a nice fest.

  4. Pat D'Amico

    I wish I could, but I work most of those nights.

  5. Pingback: Bronson ~ (UK, 2008) ~ Netflix Stream « Chazz W

  6. Pingback: Drive ~ (USA, 2011) ~ In Theaters | Chazz W

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