Tuesday, August 16, 2011

365 Movies Day #141 "Pusher 2: With Blood on My Hands"

8 years after "Pusher" revealed the talented Nicholas Winding Refn to the world, the films sequel, "With Blood on My Hands" was released. To recap Refn briefly, he was responsible for "VALHALLA RISING", "BRONSON" and, of course, the first "PUSHER".

The film stars Mads Mikkelsen "VALHALLA RISING","ADAM'S APPLES", "PUSHER", reprising his surprisingly brief role in the first film. It's clear from the start that his character, Tonny, is totally unloved, unwanted and though he talks a good game (especially in his conversations with pal Frank in the first film) about how amazing he is, he gets no respect from anyone in a way Rodney Dangerfield would be sad about.

Like "Pusher" the film is filled with drugs and language for the feint of heart. It's loaded with a lot more sex though and for the ladies, a bit more of Mikkelsen than I would have liked to see. But it's all used to drive a very powerful story (these are all written by Refn by the way). You can't help feeling that this film's title is referring to those pushing Tonny, rather than those dealing dope.

The film differs from the first, in it's use of Tonny as a lead versus Frank (missing entirely from the sequel). While Frank was on top of his game and greatly respected and started a downward spiral, Tonny starts out at rock bottom and, depending on your point of view, could be turning things around. The ending is only a bit more finite than the first film's somewhat ambiguous close and you can tell they had a bit more budget to throw at the production.

The only character that makes an appearance in both films other than Tonny is Milo, played by Zlatko Buric, who is, as far as I can tell, the only character to be in all three films as the third film focuses on his character. You may also recognize him from Roland Emmereich's "2012" and previously mentioned "DIRTY PRETTY THINGS".

So far it's an amazing series, not that I expected anything less from Refn after watching "Bronson" and "Valhalla Rising". The man has such an intensely original way of telling a story that he's sure to be copied for years to come. Fantastic work and I can't wait to track down and watch all of his films. And Mikkelsen? Well he's definitely on my list of favorite actors of all time now if he wasn't before.


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