Film Review by Kam Williams
Headline: Mutants Make Mayhem in Harrowing Sci-Fi Mindbender
20-ish Nick (Chris Evans) is a so-called Mover born with the ability to manipulate objects with his mind, a trait he inherited from his late father. 13 year-old Cassie (Dakota Fanning), on the other hand, is a Watcher, which means she can see far into the future. She’s been her own since her mother’s mysterious disappearance.
And what exactly is the source of their superhuman powers? Apparently, a Nazi scientific experiment gone haywire during the Holocaust in which kids were fed milk with radioactive iodine. Consequently, today there are apparently not merely second-generation Movers and Watchers roaming around on the loose, but a whole race of mutants able to perform paranormal feats, including Pushers, who are capable of altering others’ minds; Bleeders, who can rupture eardrums by emitting high-pitched sounds; Sniffs, the psychic equivalent of bloodhounds; Stitchers, who can heal the sick instantaneously; Shadows, who can block the clairvoyant visions of Sniffs; Wipers, blessed with the ability to erase memories temporarily or permanently; and Shifters, masters at creating optical illusions.
It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyhow, that folks with such telepathic talents might tend to attract the attention of despots with world domination in mind. So, it’s no surprise to learn that a clandestine U.S. spy agency called Division has been rounding up all the rogue mutants.
Thus, just past the point of departure of Push, we learn that a team of agents led by Henry Carver (Djimon Hounsou) has tracked the trails of Nick and Cassie to Hong Kong and plans to bring them back to America to put them to work first in service of the government. The plot thickens when the two young expatriates cross paths and agree that they’d rather remain free. The pair proceed to team up, pinning their hopes on finding Nick’s ex-girlfriend, Kira (Camilla Belle), the only person known to have escaped the clutches of Division successfully.
This proves to be easier said than done, of course, since Carver has a full complement of Pushers, Movers, Watchers, Shifters, Bleeders, Stitchers, Sniffs, Shadows and Wipers at his disposal. So, the chase is on, and the surprisingly-cerebral sci-fi adventure which ensues unfolds in a fashion that’s not always easy to follow, adding up overall to an alternately thrilling and thought-provoking roller coaster ride which you’ll probably have to see more than once to comprehend completely.
For, although Push’s “fugitives on the run” storyline might sound fairly conventional on its face, appearances can be deceiving when you’re your dealing with an ensemble of supernatural characters able to morph at will. Kudos to two-time Oscar-nominee Djimon Hounsou, Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning and Camilla Belle for more than holding their own in a production where lesser thespians might have been dwarfed by the special effects.
A harrowing mindbender which successfully blends elements of X-Men, The Matrix and Memento while adding some of its own unique sci-fi flava.
Excellent (3.5 stars)
Rated PG-13 for profanity, teen drinking and intense violence.
In English and Cantonese with subtitles.
Running time: 111 minutes
Studio: Summit Entertainment
To see a trailer for Push, visit:
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Film Review by Kam Williams