Party boy and drug dealer Frank (Richard Coyle) is a big fish in the small pond of east London.
However, like all low-level criminals, Frank is only as good as his last deal and in order to increase his wealth, he has to borrow heavily from men who don’t take kindly to late repayments.
So it comes to pass that Frank borrows thousands from drug lord Milo (Zlatko Buric) to finance an ill-fated get-rich scheme involving former prison mate Marlon (Neil Maskell). The scam goes awry and Frank is caught by the police, shortly after he dumps the drugs in a pond.
As Milo’s original loan gains interest, Frank prowls London like a wounded animal, pressurising best friend Tony (Bronson Webb), girlfriend Flo (Agyness Deyn) and rich client Fitz (Paul Kaye) to help settle the debt. Eventually Milo loses patience.
Luis Prieto’s self-consciously cool English-language remake of Nicolas Winding Refn’s coruscating 1996 thriller has style in abundance.
Transplanted from the streets of Copenhagen to present-day London, Pusher imagines the capital as a rat-run of neon-lit nightclubs, smoke-filled house parties and swanky apartments, where punters pay thousands in cash for their next hit. The beautiful squalor is set to a pulsating soundtrack by electronic dance duo Orbital, which provides the film with frenetic bursts of energy.
What Prieto’s version lacks is a strong emotional connection to the godforsaken anti-hero as he careens from disaster to despair, discovering the drugs he peddles don’t work, they make everything far worse.
We feel no concern as the world crashes down upon him. He gambles big, loses bigger and deserves the grim consequences.
n See tomorrow’s Lancashire Telegraph for an interview with East Lancs’ Agyness Deyn