It’s a remarkable sensation when you’re watching a film and you realize it doesn’t matter whether all the critics in the world put it on a pedestal other movies in its genre will forever be compared to or whether they beat it to a bloody pulp on the ground.
“Push” is that type of movie.
While Oscar season was filled with films that both brought us soaring with hope (“Milk”) and crashing with despair (“Revolutionary Road”), it was refreshing to watch a film that didn’t take itself so seriously.
Movies like “The Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars” reached for the greatness they rightly deserved, but you can feel that stretch for a deeper meaning when you’re watching them. But other movies, like the 2008 remake of “The Day The Earth Stood Still” reached for that greatness and fell flat.
After the disappointment that was “Twilight” which was a product of Summit Entertainment like “Push” it was a pleasure to see the fledgling studio do something right.
Written by: David Bourla
Starring: Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Djimon Hounsou, Camilla Belle
Running time: 111 mins.
Seen at: Boston Common Loews
“Push” has the same kind of edgy feel to it Catherine Hardwicke tried to bring to “Twilight” a trademark I hope Summit continues to develop. The camera work has an aspect of honest realism to it, sometimes even shifting to the shoddy video you’d expect from old family movies. It gives the film a feel that is necessary to keep it down to earth.
There’s nothing worse watching a movie and having the special effects be so awful you can’t concentrate on what is actually occurring. “Push” kept the special effects to a minimum which, for a movie about psychics and their various abilities, is a blessing more than anything else. There were no green screens used in the film and you can tell. It’s a nice change in a film industry increasingly reliant on computers and CGI.
The Bleeders, whose special abilities is to emit a high pitched noise that makes the brain explode, were corny. What can you expect? It was a bunch of screaming men from odd angles. But the fight scene between Nick (Chris Evans) and Victor (Neil Jackson), both of whose characters are Movers and have telekinetic powers, was well done by any film’s standards. It lacked the awkwardness movies like “Jumper” faced when trying to incorporate badass fights with special powers faced.
“Push” was also Dakota Fanning’s first venture into Hollywood as a grown up. At the ripe age of 15, she is no longer the little girl who stole viewers’ collective hearts in “I Am Sam” and “Sweet Home Alabama.” Instead, she swears like a pro and walks with the swagger of a teenager who knows what she’s worth. With a hint of braces peeking out from her top row of teeth, Fanning has grown up and is on the fast track of becoming one of the best teen actors of the coming years after being one of the greatest child actors Hollywood has seen for a very long time.
Don’t expect this movie to change your life. It won’t. But “Push” properly balanced how to take itself seriously without taking itself too seriously. Its jokes are funny and its fight scenes are outlandish and it has its fair share of moments where you ask yourself, “Did they really just do that?”
My one major fault with the movie came at the beginning: The film was introduced with a “10 years earlier” subtitle but, when it switched to the “present” the subtitle described the time period as “2 days from now.” “Now” was never defined and the entire movie I was expecting a switch back to the past “" sorry if that spoiled it for anyone.
The film ends on a slightly confusing note which leaves enough loose ends for a franchise (or at least the comic book series that has already been launched). So the ending was a total set up for a sequel — who cares? If you still go around yelling “This is Sparta!” and kicking the air, or thought there was no better sex scene then Angelina Jolie adeptly avoiding bending herself backwards on that train in “Wanted” then you are going to love “Push.”
But if you’d rather burrow in a dark room analyzing the numerous layers of Fellini’s “8 ‚½” then this is not the movie for you.