Push (2009 film)
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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Paul McGuigan|
|Written by||David Bourla|
|Narrated by||Dakota Fanning|
|Music by||Neil Davidge|
|Edited by||Nicolas Trembasiewicz|
|Distributed by||Summit Entertainment|
|Box office||$48.9 million|
Push is a 2009 American science fiction action-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.
Like other governments, in 1945 the United States has set up a "Division" to secretly track, capture and experiment on people with psychic abilities, essentially starting a secret arms race for psychic abilities. For these purposes, The Division (and similar groups in other countries) classifies all psychics into one of twelve categories based on what they can do - see the future, move objects, mind-control other people, create illusions and so forth. Decades later two "Movers", teenager Nick Gant and his father Jonah, are running from Agent Carver, a Division "Pusher". Jonah tells Nick of a vision he received from a "Watcher" about a young girl he must help in the future in order to take down The Division. Jonah helps Nick escape just before Carver kills Jonah.
Ten years later, Nick is hiding in Hong Kong. Carver tests a powers boosting drug, which has killed all previous subjects, on a Pusher named Kira. The drug works, a major breakthrough for the US program, but Kira steals a syringe of the augmentation drug and escapes. Carver can not let the drug fall into the hands of other governments. Cassie Holmes, a 13-year-old Watcher, arrives at Nick's apartment, explaining that they are going to find a mysterious case that will help them take down Division. The case is also sought by the Pop Family, a large Triad led by "Bleeder" Pop Father and joined by his two Bleeder sons and his Watcher daughter, Pop Girl.
Nick and Cassie follow her predictions to a nightclub, finding Nick's friend Hook, a "Shifter". He tells them to go to a "Sniff" named Emily, one of many Sniffs Carver and his right hand Mover, Victor, are trying to enlist to find Kira. With Emily's help, Nick finds Kira, revealed to be Nick's ex-girlfriend. Kira hid the syringe inside the case, then had a "Wiper" erase her memories to keep the Division Watchers off her trail. Nick recruits a "Shadow" named Pinky to "shade" Kira from psychic detection. Cassie finds a key in Kira's shoe to a locker high in a skyscraper construction site that is shaded by a powerful Shadow that Kira hired before her wipe.
To obstruct the Pop Family and Division Watchers, Nick gives his allies instructions in envelopes to open at specific times, then has a Wiper erase his memories. Meanwhile, Hook retrieves the case from the construction site and creates a duplicate, carrying a duplicate syringe. As part of the plan, Kira surrenders herself to Carver, who pushes her to believe that she is actually a Division agent who volunteered to take the augmentation injection.
Pop Girl corners Cassie at a secluded spot but The Wiper appears at the right moment to incapacitate Pop Girl with a massive memory wipe. Nick meets with Carver, Victor and Kira to trade the drug for Kira's freedom but "Division Agent" Kira tells him their relationship, including a visit to Coney Island, was a false memory she pushed into his mind just yesterday. The three force Nick to take them to retrieve the case, where the Pop Family Triad soon ambushes them, wanting to sell the drug to another government for $6 million. Victor kills several assailants before Pop Father unleashes a powerful scream that kills Victor, upon which Nick kills Pop Father by pushing construction material on him.
Nick surprises Carver and grabs the syringe from him. Unable to convince Kira that their relationship was real, Nick jams the syringe into his arm, apparently killing himself. After Carver and Kira leave, Nick wakes up. Cassie appears and retrieves the true case with the drug-filled syringe, revealing that Carver had found Hook's duplicated case, with Nick harmlessly injecting himself with soy sauce. The two now understand that Cassie's mother is so powerful a Watcher that she set the preceding events in motion before her capture by Division, even before Cassie's birth. By ensuring Cassie and Nick's eventual success, they can exchange the syringe with Division for Cassie's mother's release.
Flying back to America with Carver, Kira opens her purse and finds the envelope from Nick. Inside is photograph of Nick and herself together at Coney Island with a message: "KILL HIM. SEE U SOON. NICK" Kira pushes Carver to put his gun in his mouth and fire; the screen fades to black and a single gunshot is heard.
- Chris Evans as Nick Gant, a Mover living in Hong Kong in order to stay hidden from Division, whose father was killed by Carver. He was born in America and once had a relationship with Kira. Nick uses his ability to control dice in order to affect betting games as a source of income, although not always successfully.
- Colin Ford as young Nick
- Dakota Fanning as Cassie Holmes, the daughter of the greatest Watcher the Division has ever encountered, and a Watcher in her own right. Like all abilities, hers is not fully developed as this happens through training. 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. It is through her that most of the events occur as she helped Kira escape Division HQ, paid Wo to erase Kira's memories, as well as get Teresa in the right place to heal Nick, and told Nick's father to tell his son to follow the one who gave him a flower. This alone shows the strength of her Watcher abilities, as she saw this all happen at least a decade ago where most can only see a few hours or days into the future.
- 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 works as a fortune teller in Hong Kong.
- Cliff Curtis as Hook Waters, a Shifter. He used to be in the Division and after getting out, his wife died in a suspicious car accident and he knew the Division was involved. Since he moved to Hong Kong he has begun hanging out in high-class escort bars where he uses his shifting ability to pay his way. He implies that Nick's father had a similar past and it is confirmed in the comics that both used to work for the Division. He has a habit of saying "that won't last long" after he uses his abilities.
- Nate Mooney as Pinky Stein, a Shadow who hid Kira from the Sniffs. His nickname is derived from the Division's removal of his right 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 after an encounter with the Bleeders, as requested by Cassie's mother, who told her to be in a certain place at a certain time and help whomever was there. She is, however, not seen as altruistic, but, instead, out for personal gain rather than helping Cassie and Nick overthrow the Division.
- Paul Car as Wo Chiang, a Wiper who lives on a house boat in Hong Kong Harbour.
- Xiao Lu Li as Pop Girl, a Chinese 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.
Types of superhumans
- Watchers have the ability to foresee the future to varying degrees. As knowledge of the future invariably causes that future to change, Watchers' visions of the future in their direct sphere of influence are subject to frequent shifting. To keep track and better understand their visions, most watchers keep small art journals in which they draw what they see. Watchers visions are like a sense of déjà vu. Watchers can get visions at will. Drinking alcoholic beverages can temporarily enhance a Watcher's abilities (as shown by Cassie). Cassie and Pop Girl are Watchers. Cassie's Mother has been revealed to be the most powerful Watcher in the world, setting all the events and foreseeing them even decades earlier, also saying them to Nick's father.
- Movers are powerful telekinetics who are trained to identify the specific atomic frequencies of a given material and alter the gravitational field around it, usually causing the nearby air to appear "warped". This allows them to move both animate and inanimate objects. Advanced Movers can work at the molecular level, creating shields in the air around them to deflect bullets or create power fists and kicks, a strike that delivers three times the power of a normal punch. Nick is a Mover, with his abilities at a basic level at the start of the film, developing Advanced abilities later on. Victor, Carver's right-hand man, is a more advanced Mover with abilities to create shields and power-strikes. Nick's father was also an advanced Mover.
- Pushers have the ability to implant memories, thoughts and emotions into the minds of other people in order to manipulate them. The skill level of the Pusher determines how many people the Pusher is able to control at one time, and how vivid the implanted memories are. A powerful Pusher can push a large group of people at the same time, basically creating a personal army. A Pusher is able to make a person do anything the Pusher desires, even commit suicide. A Pusher's eyes indicate how powerful they are: their pupils will dilate to certain degrees depending on how powerful the push is (for example, Henry Carver's eyes are rendered completely black, signifying that he is an extremely able and effective Pusher). Kira is also an very powerful Pusher, controlling 12 people at the same time.
- Bleeders have the ability to emit high-pitched sonic vibrations that cause ruptures in a target's blood vessels. While using this ability, their pupils turn into vertical slits, like a snake's, because of synthetic materials implanted in them to protect their blood vessels from the effects of their own ability. They are also sometimes known as Screechers or Screamers. Pop Girl's brothers and father, the Triads, are Bleeders. Pop Girl's brothers are powerful enough to destroy locks on doors and shattering glasses to pieces, showing that they are advanced Bleeders. Pop Girl's father is a very powerful Bleeder, capable of collapsing an entire building in rage.
- Sniffs are highly developed psychometrics who can track the location of people or objects over varying distances. Like bloodhounds, their ability is increased if they have tactile access to an object that has been in direct contact with the subject. Sniffs receive information in the form of images, which is why identifiable landmarks help increase their effectiveness. Emily Hu is a highly trained Sniff, and she uses her powers for money. Carver's associates who kidnapped Kira are also Sniffs.
- Shifters can temporarily alter the appearance of an object by manipulating patterns of light interacting with it. Once the illusion is established, it remains with the object for a short period of time. For example, a Shifter could touch a one dollar bill and alter it to appear as a one hundred dollar bill until the effect expires. The object shifted must have roughly the same dimensions as the object it is shifted into. The length of time that the effect will last is based on the Shifter's experience. Hook Waters, an ex-Division agent and Nick's friend, is a highly experienced Shifter, capable of turning a large suitcase into a fake one and managing to hold the illusion for 6-7 hours.
- Wipers are skilled at either temporarily or permanently erasing memories, an invaluable asset in espionage. Experience will dictate the accuracy of their wipes, though there is always the danger that they will eliminate a desired memory. Wo Chiang, an old fisherman who lives on a dock, is a Wiper who uses his powers on those who request it for money. He erases part of Nick's and Kira's memories in the film. It can be speculated that Wipers can send mental blasts into a target's brain or put high mind-stress into their wipes for offensive means, as shown by Wo Chiang when he saves Cassie from Pop Girl by sneaking up behind her and rendering her unconscious, either through the mental-blast method or deliberately over-stressing her mind through his wipe.
- Shadows are trained to block the visions of other clairvoyants, such as Sniffs, by diverting the attention of the target radius so that they "flicker" through different locations other than the subject's actual whereabouts. Experience will enhance the size of the area they can shadow and the intensity of their shielding effect. Shadows need to be awake to manifest their ability, so it is common for a detail of two Shadows to operate in shifts while protecting a person or object for extended periods. Most Shadows are effective only against Sniffs, but some extremely powerful Shadows are able to block even Watchers. Pinky, a friend of Nick's, is a Shadow for hire, and he is effective only against Sniffs and is shown to be inferior to the Division's Shadows. Like other characters, he also uses his powers for money. An old woman hired by Kira to hide the syringe has the ability to shadow an entire building, even from Watchers.
- Stitches are psychic healers trained to quickly reconstruct cells to their previous or healthy state. Using only their hands, they can heal and even "un-heal" whatever they have done. For more detailed work, Stitches use a silver-based cream on their hands that acts as a conductor for their ability. Teresa Stowe is a powerful Stitch, capable of healing Nick's back to pristine shape and also disabling him later in the film, who also uses the cream.
On its opening weekend, the film opened #6 grossing $10,079,109 in 2,313 theaters with a $4,358 average. 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.
Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 23% approval rating based on 126 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." Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average to critic reviews, gave the film an average score of 36 out of 100, based on 21 critics. 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." 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…”
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.” 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."
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 write The Highwaymen for Wildstorm) and Bruno Redondo supplied the art. Issues were published between November 2008 and February 2009, and a softcover collection (ISBN 978-1401224929) was published in September, 2009.
Soundtrack and score
No official soundtrack has been released, although the full score is available to stream online on the official Neil Davidge website.
|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|
|South Rakkas Crew||China Funk|
|The Old Ceremony||Bao Qian|
|Jiang Xianwei||A Visit to Suzhou|
- Stargate Project, the real U.S. Federal Government project to investigate psychic phenomena, used as a basis for the film.
- "PUSH (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. January 19, 2009. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
- "Push (2009)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
- "Film review: Push". The Guardian. 22 February 2009. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
- O'hara, Helen. "Push Review". Empire Online. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
- Chen, David. "Movie Review: Push". Retrieved 18 May 2016.
- "Weekend Box Office Results for February 6–8, 2009". Box Office Mojo. 2009-02-08. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
- "Push (2009) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- "Push Reviews - Metacritic". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- Ebert, Roger (February 4, 2009). "Push Movie Review & Film Summary (2009)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- Koehler, Robert (February 1, 2009). "Push Variety". Variety. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- Rechtshaffen, Michael (February 2, 2009). "Film Review: Push - Hollywood Reporter". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- Robinson, Tasha (February 5, 2009). "Push Film Review - AV Club". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- SDCC 08: Wildstorm Snares Push License, IGN, July 22, 2008
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