Rating: 3.25 of 5
Push actually envisions how psychic powers would play out in the real world rather than the heightened reality we’re accustomed to with these sorts of stories. Gritty and realistic, it still manages to have enough energy and excitement to be a fun action movie. The film is simple and raw and it works.
Filming exclusively in Hong Kong helped create the gritty atmosphere. Keeping the visual effects simple strengthens the realism. Most of the manifestation of powers is effective editing and lighting. The “movers” telekinetic ability delivers enough of the action to fulfill an audiences expectations of a film like this. And the visual style of the film is not unique, because most everything has been done before. But it’s abstract, I guess, in an effective way. Shots show us moments from different characters points of view, change color, change focus because these characters have a different perspective on the world and changing how the audience sees things draws us into our own altered perception. if that makes any sense.
The thing I liked, as much as how simple and raw it is, is how well developed the characters. These are solid characters with histories and connections that we see and accept very quickly. And that’s not easy, to portray characters and relationships an audience will buy without having to see them established in order to believe them.
I adore Dakota Fanning and she’s fantastic as always. Chris Evans delivers a solid performance as the central figure in this game. Joel Gretsch is in the beginning and I just really like him.
The only real flaw I saw was that it’s a little long. There aren’t necessarily places where the story drags, but there’s enough shots that linger far too long that could have trimmed and the story could have been streamlined which would have harnessed the energy better making it more exciting.
The movie itself isn’t especially smart, but the filmmakers are pretty brilliant. Not many actions movies can be well made by making smart choices, having a good story with good actors and putting the money where it matters on what I’m sure was a comparatively small budget. This one was and I respect the filmmakers for doing it well.