Push DVD (Lil Devil Review)
Push gives us something seldom seen in a film about superpowered individuals. We get a fresh perspective, with individuals we have never seen before. The abilities are nothing new. The characters however are and we get to see them from start to finish (finish, if there are no sequels that is). And it is a good feeling, because now the anticipatory aspects (when will Wolverine pop his claws or will the Hulk yell out “HULK SMASH”) that come with watching an already “established” superhero film are gone.
Now, I said superhero film, but that isn’t exactly true. These are not superheroes the way they have been shaped in our culture. The focus in the film is on ordinary people, with extraordinary abilities, trying to outrun the circumstances of their existence. The powers are on display and at times take center stage, but the characters and the story get top billing here.
Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning are front and center as the two main protagonists seeking to bring down the evil government agency that hunts their kind (sound a little familiar). Luckily for Evans he’s playing against typecasting in this film. My fear was that they would imprint the Johnny Storm character from the Fantastic Four movies onto their concept, and then we’d have a hero that consistently cracks wise in the face of danger. Thankfully, that isn’t the case and I can honestly say Evans gave a performance worth viewing.
As for little miss Fanning, she is trying way too hard to work against typecasting. The formerly precocious youngster was apparently aiming for a hard boiled, gritty edge for her character, which came off as unnatural and forced. PG-13 typically comes with a limited amount of four letter words that can be used and they all seem to fly out of her mouth. Probably not her choice of dialogue, but she did choose the role, which means she’s tired of being the cutesy-wootsy little girl from I Am Sam. Unfortunately, she doesn’t work in the overall scheme of the film. Especially since the story relies heavily on each person’s skill in selling their confidence, or lack thereof, in their capabilities.
Each individual ability plays heavily into the story, but the makers of Push didn’t break the bank on special effects. There is a low key, stripped down element at play in the film, which gives it almost an indie feel, with big budget aspirations. The action is highly stylized, but in a manageable way. Not realistic action, but slightly more believable than other films would offer.
The DVD offers audio commentary (then again who doesn’t), a small selection of deleted scenes, and a short featurette entitled, Push: The Science Behind the Fiction. It’s a paltry selection of features, but it does add to the enjoyment, if the viewer feels the film was intriguing enough to look further.
While the film had some contradictory aspects and Dakota Fanning, it also had a solid story, with interesting developments and characters you could root for and sympathize with. It certainly won’t make the AFI Top 100, but it is a film worth watching if this genre appeals to you. I give it 3 1/2 out of 5 pitchforks.