Saturday, June 4, 2016

Keep on Pushin'

It was Rod Heath, writing on the Ferdy on Films blog, that pushed me to watch Push (2009). I'd seen it around, but never heard anything about it. Since it was made by Paul McGuigan, who directed Lucky Number Slevin, I figured it was worth a shot.

It is set in a world where some people have psychic powers: Movers, Watchers, Bleeders, Pushers and so on. They try to stay hidden, because when the government finds them, they do experiments on them. Chris Evans (Human Torch/Captain America) is a low-level Mover, hiding out in Hong Kong. His power is that he can kind of affect the roll of the dice with his mind, but not well enough to win any money. He meets up with 12-year old Dakota Fanning, a Watcher - she can see the future, and sketches the glimpses in a notebook (but she can't draw very well). They are eventually joined by Camilla Belle, a Pusher. Pushers don't sell drugs, they can push ideas into peoples minds, make them believe anything they want them to.

They are being hunted by the government in the person of Djimon Hounsou, another Pusher, and a Chinese gang of Bleeders (who can scream you to death) and a sexy Watcher, Xiaolu Li, known as Pop Girl, because she is always sucking on lollipops.

The set up takes most of the movie, and it's pretty solid: interesting characters and situations, nice cinematography around Hong Kong, not too flashy, but far from utilitarian. Then, the final act: our heroes have to solve the problem of how you can fight a foe who can see the future and/or can convince you of any lie? SPOILER - make a foolproof plan and wipe your memory.

Since nobody can read minds, I don't see quite how this works. It's kind of like Paycheck in that way - a clever idea that doesn't really work out in practice. People have also compared it to Jumper, a story of young people with powers being pursued by the government.

Like Jumper, Push is also not as good as it could have been, not as bad as people seem to think. It was fun companion to eXistenZ - the young people on the run in a world whose rules you have to work out. Also, Pushers create an artificial reality, tying in with the game reality in eXistenZ.

Wish I could say it was a classic, but it is worth watching.

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