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Push (2009)

PG-13 111 minutes

Directed by Paul McGuigan
Written by Davd Bourla

 · Chris Evans
 · Dakota Fanning
 · Camilla Bell
 · Djimon Housou

Review by Sean Kernan

Director Paul McGuigan directed the clever, funny, con-man comedy Lucky Number Slevin. It was his first feature and it should have portended great things for his career. Sadly for his Slevin follow up McGuigan chose Push a terribly goofy comic book movie about psychic super heroes and government conspiracy. Where Slevin was endlessly inventive, Push is predictable and sloppy.

What a shame.




Handsomely mild actor Chris Evans stars in Push as Nick a man on the run since his father was hunted down and murdered by a mysterious  government entity. Since then Nick has lived off the grid in Japan hoping to keep a low enough profile to be left alone. That all changes when Nick is discovered by a teenage psychic named Cassie (Dakota Fanning) who has had a vision about him and her and their deaths.

On the bright side, she's also had a vision about a young woman named Kira (Camilla Bell) who may be able to save them. Kira is the only person ever to escape from the shadowy government forces chasing Nick and Cassie and if they find her she could be the key to bringing the conspiracy down. Add in a helpful psychic con man (Cliff Curtis) and another more powerful psychic hiding out as a psychic (Ming Na) and you have a misfit team ready for battle.

The premise of Push plays not at all unlike the TV series Heroes. Both are about shady conspiracy, hunting down people with special abilities and wild special effects. Both are also wildly divergent in quality, Heroes can vary from week to week with good episodes and not so good ones. Push has one chance to work and fails.




I have been a little dismissive of the story potential of Push. There is certainly nothing wrong with a comic book style movie about super heroes. The key is making those heroes compelling and their journey interesting beyond their powers. Director McGuigan and screenwriter David Bourla fail this by vaguely defining the powers and muddying the government conspiracy premise.

Not that a cleaner narrative might have made much of a difference. The super powers on display, people pushing other people with their minds or controlling objects with their minds or seeing the future, simply are not all that interesting. The best super heroes have powers that comment on their personality. The abilities reflect the man (or less often the woman) and we learn something about them through their uniqueness.

No such comment or reflection emerges from Push. Instead we have a series of dull, uninspired effects scenes.



I expected much more from Director Paul McGuigan. Lucky Number Slevin was the kind of debut that promises so much more from a director's future. It was a far from perfect movie but a clever, funny, imaginitive film. Push is nearly the complete opposite. Derivative and uninspired, Push is disappointing beyond Director Paul McGuigan. It's disappointing to have to had sat through such a lacking effort.

493 Words Published: 6 July 2009

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