|Directed by||Nicolas Winding Refn|
|Produced by||Nicolas Winding Refn
|Written by||Nicolas Winding Refn|
|Music by||Peter Peter
|Editing by||Janus Billeskov Jansen
|Distributed by||Nordisk Film
|Running time||100 minutes|
Pusher II (also known as Pusher II: With Blood on My Hands) is a 2004 Danish crime film written and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. The film is the second film in the Pusher trilogy, portraying the lives of criminals in Copenhagen.
The film opens some time after the original film with Tonny serving out his last day of a prison sentence. His cell-mate delivers a monologue advising Tonny to conquer his fear. He then reminds Tonny that he owes him money, but has chosen to give him more time out of respect for Tonny's father, the Duke, a vicious gangster. Upon his release, Tonny visits his father's garage business seeking employment. The Duke has a younger son from a different mother now and receives Tonny coldly, but he ultimately allows Tonny to work for him on a trial basis. Tonny steals a Ferrari in an effort to impress his father, but the car is rejected and the Duke berates Tonny mercilessly for his lack of responsibility.
While hanging out with his friend Ø, Tonny is told that he has a child with a local woman Charlotte. Charlotte has raised the child by herself so far and demands that Tonny start paying her child support. Tonny makes empty promises to pay, but soon comes to care for the child. Tonny successfully participates in a car heist for the Duke, but is forced to ride in the trunk of the escape car because there are no seats left.
Tonny helps a local pimp and hoodlum, "Kurt the Cunt", make a heroin deal with Milo, the drug lord from the first movie. When one of Milo's thugs arrives late, a spooked Kurt flushes the heroin down the toilet. Kurt now has no money or drugs to sell and cannot pay back the money he borrowed for the deal. Kurt convinces Tonny to help buy him a gun and shoot him in the arm to convince Kurt's backers that he was robbed. While visiting with Charlotte and his son, Tonny learns how to change his son's diaper. Ø watches and reveals that he is about to marry his girlfriend Gry and have a child of his own.
At Ø's wedding reception, the Duke delivers a toast telling Ø that he thinks of him as a son, and then chides Tonny. Tonny gets drunk and becomes angry as he watches Charlotte neglecting their child to snort cocaine with Gry in the club's kitchen. He insists that she take the baby home, but she refuses by berating and humiliating Tonny. Enraged, Tonny attacks Charlotte before several men pull him away. Realizing that he has once again made a fool of himself, Tonny leaves the party and meets Kurt, who is lingering outside. Kurt convinces Tonny to help him smash up his apartment to further support their story. In return Kurt promises to put in a good word for Tonny with the Duke. After Kurt attacks a prostitute that emerges from his bedroom, he tells Tonny he is going to finish her off and Tonny, wanting no part of it, leaves. Kurt reveals that his financial backer is the Duke and that he has lied so that Tonny will share in Kurt's debt.
Tonny visits his father to find a way to reconcile and pay off his debt. Tonny volunteers to intimidate the Duke's ex-wife Jeanette, who is trying to take custody of his young brother-in-law, to force her to drop the custody claim. The Duke insists that Tonny kill her, and he agrees. Tonny visits Jeanette where she works, at Kurt's brothel, but he cannot go through with the murder. After returning and admitting his failure to his father, the Duke berates him savagely. Tonny snaps and stabs the Duke to death. He flees and goes looking for Ø, but instead finds Gry and Charlotte getting high. They deride Tonny and then leave the baby unattended. Tonny takes the child and gets on a bus, fleeing the city. The film ends with a shot of the tattoo on the back of Tonny's head which reads "Respect".
- Mads Mikkelsen as Tonny: A troubled hoodlum.
- Leif Sylvester as Smeden: A notorious gangster and Tonny's estranged father.
- Anne Sørensen as Charlotte: A prostitute and the mother of Tonny's child.
- Øyvind Hagen-Traberg as Ø: Tonny's friend and the Duke's trusted employee.
- Kurt Nielsen as Kurt the Cunt: An untrustworthy pimp and drug dealer .
- Karsten Schrøder as Red: The Duke's brother and partner.
- Maria Erwolter as Gry: Ø's girlfriend.
- Zlatko Burić as Milo: A Serb drug lord.
- Ilyas Agac as Muhammed: An immigrant criminal and gun dealer.
- Linse Kessler as Jeanette: A prostitute and the Duke's ex-wife.
- Sven Erik Eskeland Larsen as Svend
- Maya Ababadjani as Luder #1
The original Pusher was a smash success and Refn did not plan on making a sequel. However, after releasing several films, Refn's company acquired a debt of $1 million. Though he feared repeating himself or tarnishing his greatest success to date, Refn decided to make two sequels and form a Pusher trilogy. Refn decided to make Tonny from the first film the star in the sequel. Mads Mikkelsen had become Denmark's biggest star by this point, but he agreed to star in the film. As he did in the original film, Refn consulted with real hoodlums and cast many non-actors to portray the underworld of Copenhagen as authentically and unglamorous as possible. The character of Kurt the Cunt was created for Kurt Nielsen, who was a true gangster nicknamed "the Cunt" that Refn met while attending a Narcotic's Anonymous meeting to do research for Pusher 3.
While writing the screenplay, Refn drew from his own insecurities from his relationship with his filmmaker father and as a new father himself. The character of Tonny desperately wants to be respected and loved by his father, but he is constantly humiliated. Refn described the screenplay as having a non-traditional, episodic structure. Almost every "episode" of the story ends with Tonny being humiliated.
The second Pusher film was critical acclaimed and holds a score of 100% on Rotten tomatoes
Refn reused many of his stylistic and shooting techniques from his other movies. He shot the scenes almost completely in chronological order using hand-held cameras in a documentary style. The hand-held camera work is used to allow the camera freedom of movement, and is not intended to call attention to itself by being overly shaky. Refn kept with the theme of prominent darkness and shadow, though this film has fewer incidents of characters being underexposed or backlit. Due to Refn's color blindness, he shot some scenes in vivid monochrome. Many scenes are almost completely red, as Refn believed red to be the most organic and emotional color. Tonny's ironic tattoo spelling out "RESPECT" on the back of his head is prominently displayed throughout the film and is its final image.
During the filming of the car heist sequence, Refn consulted several professional car thieves to write the procedure of the heist and brought them on set during shooting to further advise. Refn later claimed that the thieves tended to be overly committed to the realism of the scene. He also suspected that they were using the opportunity to plan a real robbery of the dealership after filming had completed. While filming the marriage reception scene, Refn consulted locals and cast members on what a wedding reception would look like in their world, then redecorated the set accordingly. Refn used many real locations in and around Copenhagen, selecting many due to their proximity to each other to accommodate his chronological shooting schedule. Several residences belonging to crew members were modified only slightly from their natural state to become sets. Refn made the sets intentionally squalid and humble to further unglamorize the criminal lifestyle.
Refn also took great care in the selection of music for the film. Rather than fill the soundtrack with typical rock, hip hop, or techno, Refn wanted to emulate the self-made, electronic film scores of John Carpenter. He also selected atypical music to stand for the music that the characters themselves listened to. Refn held a contest asking for suggestions on music to use in the film, then selected the most "eurotrashy" music, believing that real gangsters and criminals listen to music such as Phil Collins.
This movie is the second film in a trilogy of Pusher films written and directed by Refn. Each film takes place in the same fictional Copenhagen underworld. The original Pusher follows Tonny's original partner Frank (Kim Bodnia), and his desperate attempt to raise money after a drug deal gone wrong. Pusher II references the events of this film several times. Charlotte comments on the scars on Tonny's head, a result of the beating he received from Frank. Milo later asks Tonny if he has seen Frank lately, as Milo wanted to kill Frank at the end of Pusher. This comment reveals that Frank disappeared after the events of that film.
The third film in the trilogy is Pusher 3, which follows the Serbian drug lord Milo as he struggles with his drug addiction, several bad drug deals, and his daughter's birthday celebration.
Like the first film, this film features much discussion of coke.