Though the original Danish Pusher resulted in a cult crime drama which launched the career of filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, this British remake is merely content to offer a fairly conventional East End gangster flick. That said, it’s occasionally absorbing in spite of this, as small-time dealer Frank (Richard Coyle) grows increasingly desperate while his relatively comfortable life spirals out of control. Owing money that he doesn’t have to a Serbian Mobster (Croatian-Danish actor Zlatko Buric), what keeps us watching is seeing how Frank reacts as his situation worsens and worsens.
But while some interesting visuals from director Luis Prieto and a pulsing soundtrack from Orbital give the picture an adrenaline-fueled sense of energy – think Trainspotting meets Guy Ritchie – it’s ultimately too generic to stand out. Admirably, familiar face Richard Coyle consistently elevates the clichéd script and Zlatko Buric is excellent as mob boss Milo once again (he played him in the ’96 original), but they can only do so much. And while the ending at least avoids a predictable resolution, it does so in a way which is more abrupt and unconvincing than it is satisfying.