Push (2009 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaul McGuigan
Written byDavid Bourla
Produced by
CinematographyPeter Sova
Edited byNicolas Trembasiewicz
Music byNeil Davidge
Distributed bySummit Entertainment
Release date
  • February 6, 2009 (2009-02-06)
Running time
111 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$38 million[2]
Box office$48.9 million[2]

Push is a 2009 American superhero thriller film directed by Paul McGuigan and written by David Bourla. Starring Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Camilla Belle, and Djimon Hounsou, the film centers on a group of people born with various superhuman abilities who band together in order to take down a government agency that is using a dangerous drug to enhance their powers in hopes of creating an army of super soldiers.

The film was released on February 6, 2009, by Summit Entertainment and Icon Productions. It was a moderate box office success, though critical reception was mostly negative.


In 1945, the United States government sets up The Division, an agency that tracks and experiments on people with psychic abilities. Each psychic is categorized into a group based on what powers they have. Two Movers, teenager Nick Gant and his father Jonah, are hiding from Division agent Henry Carver. Jonah tells Nick about a vision he received from a Watcher about a young girl Nick must help in the future to bring down Division. Nick watches Carver murder Jonah before he escapes.

Years later, The Division has developed a drug that can boost psychic abilities. All of the test subjects died until an unknown female Pusher successfully adapted to it. The woman escapes from The Division and steals a syringe of the drug before fleeing to Hong Kong, a common hiding place for psychics. Nick now lives in Hong Kong as an expatriate, but is in trouble due to gambling debts he incurred while attempting to use his power as a Mover to cheat the games. Nick is first visited by two Division agents, who are looking for leads on the escaped female patient, but they find none. Nick is visited immediately after by Cassie Holmes, a moody teenage Watcher, who wants Nick to help her in tracking down the woman who is supposed to have a case with six million dollars inside. While pleading her case to Nick, they are attacked by the Triads at a market, and Nick is severely wounded by a Bleeder before the pair can escape. After being separated, Cassie finds an unconscious Nick in the care of a Stitch named Teresa Stowe who owes a favor to Cassie's mother and was told to be in the market at the exact day and time they were attacked. She heals Nick's wounds to repay her debt to Cassie's mother, while also taunting Cassie about her mother's current captivity. Her mother, Sarah, is considered the strongest Watcher ever born and was detained by The Division to ensure their control over her abilities. Unbeknownst to them, her mother was the patient who directly helped the female Pusher escape. After talking to Cassie about her past and her most recent drawings, Nick realizes she is the girl his father saw in his vision and decides to help her find the woman as well as the briefcase containing the stolen goods.

Nick and Cassie use her Watcher abilities to track down the woman, who is actually Nick's ex-girlfriend, Kira Hudson. Kira hid the case and then had a Wiper erase her memory of its location, protecting it from Division agents. Nick recruits a Shadow, named Pinky Stein, to hide Kira from Carver and other Division agents. Cassie attempts to foresee the case's location, competing with the Triad Watcher, Pop Girl. As Kira begins to get sick from withdrawal, Nick learns that Kira will get sicker and eventually die without more of the drug, which only Carver has, and realizes he must meet with Carver to save her life. Victor, a talented Mover and Carver's assistant, battles Nick and nearly kills him before Cassie convinces Carver to spare him. Cassie then finds a key in Kira's shoe which unlocks a locker atop a construction site where the case is hidden.

Knowing that both Division and Triad Watchers can see their every move, Nick proposes an elaborate plan to obtain the drug and eliminate their enemies. He creates several envelopes containing instructions for each of his friends, including the Shifter called Hook Waters and the Sniff called Emily Wu. Nick seals each envelope and gives them to his friends before hiring the Wiper who erased Kira's memory to do the same to him. With his memory wiped, the Watchers are unable to see his future, enabling the group to execute Nick's plan. Hook locates the case and creates a duplicate of it and the syringe, while Pinky delivers Kira to Carver as part of the plan. Carver then pushes her into believing she is actually a Division agent and her relationship with Nick was a lie.

Cassie is confronted by Pop Girl, only for the Wiper to appear and erase Pop Girl's memory per Nick's instructions. Nick visits Carver and discovers Kira's brainwashing. They travel to the construction site where Carver unknowingly retrieves the fake case, but the Triads arrive and attempt to steal the case. A battle erupts between all three groups which leads to the Triad Bleeders being killed. Nick uses his newly discovered Mover power to battle Victor. The Triad leader uses his Bleeder powers and kills Victor when the young Bleeder dies. After using the opportunity to kill the Triad leader, Nick seizes the fake syringe and Carver allows him to inject himself with it, apparently dying. After Kira and Carver leave, Cassie appears and reveals Nick is alive. They retrieve the real case and syringe from a dumpster and discuss using it to free Cassie's mother from Division, who might have planned the whole thing years before Cassie was born.

Kira discovers her unopened envelope, which contains photographs proving her relationship with Nick was real. She then pushes Carver and a gunshot is heard.


  • Chris Evans as Nick Gant, a Mover living in Hong Kong in order to stay hidden from Division. He witnessed his father being murdered by Agent Carver and also once had a relationship with Kira. Nick is an untrained Mover who has difficulty controlling his power.
Dakota Fanning at the film's premiere
  • Dakota Fanning as Cassie Holmes, a Watcher and the daughter of the greatest Watcher the Division has encountered. Like Nick, her abilities are not fully developed. She is sometimes confused by what she draws in her premonitions.
    • Cassie's mother Sarah Frank is uncredited; a powerful Watcher who was captured by the Division to prevent her use of powers against them.
Camilla Belle at the film's premiere
  • Camilla Belle as Kira Hudson/Hollis, a high-level Pusher, a recent escapee of the Division, and the only Division patient to have survived experimentation.
  • Djimon Hounsou as Agent Henry Carver, a Division agent and a powerful Pusher who killed Nick's father. He is sent to recapture Kira.
  • Joel Gretsch as Jonah Gant, Nick's father and an advanced Mover whose refusal to join the Division cost him his life. It is implied that he and Hook once worked in the Division together.
  • Ming-Na Wen as Emily Wu, a Sniffer who helps Nick and Cassie find Kira. She uses her Sniff abilities to make money.
  • Cliff Curtis as Hook Waters, a former Division Shifter. He believes that Division murdered his wife to keep him in line.
  • Nate Mooney as Pinky Stein, a Shadow who hid Kira from Division and the Triads. His nickname is derived from his missing pinky finger.
  • Corey Stoll as Agent Mack, a Sniffer agent.
  • Scott Michael Campbell as Agent Holden, a Sniffer agent.
  • Neil Jackson as Victor Budarin, an advanced Mover and Carver's right-hand man.
  • Maggie Siff as Teresa Stowe, a Stitch who helps heal Nick.
  • Paul Che as Wo Chiang, a Wiper who lives on a house boat in Hong Kong Harbour.
  • Xiao Lu Li as Pop Girl, a Triad Watcher who tries to find Nick and Cassie throughout Hong Kong. Like Cassie, she draws her visions. Her visions are based on others' intentions and decisions.
  • Kwan Fung Chi and Jacky Heung as Pop Boys, the two Triad Bleeders.
  • Haruhiko Yamanouchi as Pop Father, Triad Bleeder and father to the three Pop siblings.


Director Paul McGuigan at the film's premiere

Box office[edit]

On its opening weekend, the film opened No. 6 grossing $10,079,109 in 2,313 theaters with a $4,358 average.[3] The film grossed $48,858,618 worldwide, and $16,285,488 in DVD sales in the US alone making $65,157,106 (not including worldwide DVD sales) surpassing its budget cost of $38 million by over $27 million.[2]

Critical response[edit]

Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 23% approval rating based on 128 reviews and a rating average of 4.3/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The sci-fi thriller Push is visually flashy but hyperkinetic and convoluted."[4] Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average to critic reviews, gave the film an average score of 36 out of 100, based on 21 critics.[5] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film one and a half stars out of four stating: ""Push" has vibrant cinematography and decent acting, but I'm blasted if I know what it's about."[6] Robert Koehler of Variety also gave a negative review calling the film: “A confused jumble of parts in search of a whole, Push plays like a mix-tape sample of scenes from Heroes, Fringe, Alias and The X-Files as it follows good guys gifted with paranormal powers trying to stave off bad guys with the same…"[7]

Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter gave a negative review: “While the concept of corralling assorted Movers (those with telekinetic talents), Watchers (clairvoyants) and, of course, Pushers (mind controllers with the ability to alter one’s memories) and placing them against a stylish Asian backdrop is intriguing, the picture seldom rises to the occasion.”[8] Tasha Robinson of The A.V. Club was more positive towards the film, giving it a B+: "Superhero fans will likely be into Push just for the cool-factor of watching embattled heroes and villains in a tense war of wits, wills, and skills. That broader audience is less likely to come along for the ride, but this particular gateway drug at least has ambition and brains going for it, as well as the usual spastic style."[9]


Wildstorm, an imprint of DC Comics, published a comic book mini-series that acts as a prequel to the film. It was written by Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman (who wrote The Highwaymen for Wildstorm) and Bruno Redondo supplied the art.[10] Issues were published between November 2008 and February 2009, and a softcover collection (ISBN 978-1401224929) was published in September 2009.

Home release[edit]

Push was released on DVD and Blu-ray on July 7, 2009. The DVD included deleted scenes, a commentary, and a 'making of' featurette. Wal-Mart released the film as a double-feature DVD with Knowing. Push was released on 4K UHD Blu-Ray on April 10, 2018.[11]

Soundtrack and score[edit]

No official soundtrack has been released, although the full score is available to stream online on the official Neil Davidge website.

Artist Title
The Kills What New York Used to Be
Yin Xiangjie The Love of Boat Trackers
Radio Citizen and Bajka The Hop
Working for a Nuclear Free City Rocket
Neil Davidge Original music for Push
Daniele Benatie and Fernando Paterlini Everybody Ciao
South Rakkas Crew Elevator China
The Notwist Consequence
South Rakkas Crew China Funk
The Old Ceremony Bao Qian
Jiang Xianwei A Visit to Suzhou

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "PUSH (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. January 19, 2009. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Push (2009)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 6, 2009.
  3. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for February 6–8, 2009". Box Office Mojo. February 8, 2009. Retrieved February 10, 2009.
  4. ^ "Push". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 6, 2021. Edit this at Wikidata
  5. ^ "Push Reviews – Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger (February 4, 2009). "Push Movie Review & Film Summary (2009)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  7. ^ Koehler, Robert (February 1, 2009). "Push Variety". Variety. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  8. ^ Rechtshaffen, Michael (February 2, 2009). "Film Review: Push – Hollywood Reporter". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  9. ^ Robinson, Tasha (February 5, 2009). "Push Film Review – AV Club". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  10. ^ SDCC 08: Wildstorm Snares Push License Archived January 23, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, IGN, July 22, 2008
  11. ^ Push 4K Blu-ray, retrieved April 10, 2018

External links[edit]