Director: Paul McGuigan
Cast: Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Camilla Belle, Djimon Hounsou, Cliff Curtis, Ming-Na
Synopsis: Psychic powers are a known phenomenon in this future landscape, with the government tracking down every gifted individual to train as soldiers for the state. Experiments are also performed on these individuals, with a drug being developed that boosts their abilities, yet subsequently kills the subject. When the first patient to survive the treatment escapes, the hunt is on from the government and from some of the free psychics to get to her first.
The concept for this film is very clever. Further from the above synopsis, the psychic abilities on display differ from individual to individual. You have “watchers”, who have the ability to see the future, however this future is not set, and may even be altered by them telling others what they have seen. This is the ability of young Cassie (Fanning, in a role that she is clearly trying to shed her child star image, in addition to her presence with the Twilight saga and The Runaways). You have “movers”, that have telekinesis, as played by the always amazing Chris Evans. There are also “pushers”, that are able to implant an idea in someone’s head, as represented by Camilla Belle, or “patient zero” who survived being injected with the ability boosting drug, and also represented by Hounsou, the government thug on their tail.
So the concept is well worth investing time in, and the script itself is also quite intriguing. The plot moves along, and the challenges our heroes have to face are quite reasonable, and even quite thrilling, well within context of the world that has been established. In this way it is very possible to sit down and enjoy the film in a suspense of disbelief, as the film does have its own internal logic. Despite this, on first viewing I considered the film just okay, and not brilliant. Perhaps this is due to the fact that there was one too many twists and turns, a few too many misdirections, to help keep all the threads together. Also, despite powerful acting turns from Evans and Hounsou, a very honest performance from Fanning, and great supporting turns from both Curtis and Ming-Na, Belle does let the side down somewhat. This is disappointing, as some of the most pivotal plot advancements rest on her shoulders, and these I found subsequently left a bit flat.
I am also glad however that I did not sit down and finish this review immediately after my first viewing. I have always found that films that have an intelligent and intriguing story do stick with me for days after the viewing, as I try to unravel more of how the tapestry all fits together. Push has certainly left me in this position, and I am appreciating the film a lot more in hindsight then I did initially on my living room couch. I maintain the film is not flawless, but I also think it is very ambitious, and well worth a look for anyone who enjoys films that need a bit of unravelling, give this a look. You will enjoy it, just as long as you don’t expect another Inception (which admittedly would be a much less interesting film if there had been a few “pushers” running around!!).
3.5 stars out of 5