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“Pusher” tells the rather bare-bones story of a Frank, guy too deeply involved in the business of dealing drugs, ambitious to play the cool mid-level drug lord, actually being nothing but a low-level runner for some already not very high-level Yugoslavian dealer in Copenhagen. Around the level of Breaking Bad’s Skinny Pete, I would say, minus the funny bits. And he is not even good at what he is doing, unable to pay his debts to his boss, messing up his deals and getting overwhelmed by the network of buyers and sellers he needs to keep his business running.

Refn tells this story as he does tell stories: focusing on creating the right atmosphere. This is a bleak, very much un-glamourous drug pushing scene we are shown, with an astonishing amount of dialogue compared to his later films, creating a very naturalistic depiction of the life and times of this particular sub-culture.

I do not agree with those who see “Pusher” as a masterpiece, as I do not quite understand what the greater point of the script is. I did like the film, no doubt, but rather as a stylistically competent petitesse rather than a coherent and full-fleshed movie experience. But I very much liked was most of the actors’ performances, in particular Zlatko Burik’s creepy-crazy kitchen drug kingpin.

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