Pusher 3: I'm the Angel of Death

foreign films

Pusher 3: I'm the Angel of Death
Made in: Denmark
Language: Danish, Serbian, Albanian, Polish
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Starring: Zlatko Buric, Marinela Dekic, Ilyas Agac, Ramadan Huseini, Kujtim Loki
Year: 2005

Synopsis: Well, I'm glad to say I made it through this harrowing crime trilogy by Nicolas Winding Refn. Like the 2nd film, the focus of this drug movie is on characters rather than plot points.

In this final installment, we follow the story of aging Serbian drug lord Milo (Zlatko Buric), who was a major character in the first Pusher movie. The entire film takes place over the course of one day, and boy what a day it is!

After Milo's addiction recovery meeting, he promptly heads over to close a major drug deal only to find that his suppliers gave him a shipment of ecstasy pills instead of heroin. I hate when that happens.

And since it's his insanely spoiled daughter's 25th birthday, Milo has to make sure all the lavish arrangements are in place at the reception hall before evening.

Unfortunately for Milo, the day only gets worse when his suppliers Luan (Kujtim Loki) and Rexho (Ramadan Huseini) refuse to resolve the ecstasy/heroin mixup and set forth an ultimatum for selling the goods. If Pusher 3 teaches us anything, it's that poor customer service alone is reason enough to avoid involvement in the criminal underworld.

When Milo has to depend on the undependable Muhammad (Ilyas Agac) to sell the ecstasy pills, the situation in this foreign film goes straight to sh*t when Muhammad doesn't return with the money and Rexho begins getting murderously impatient.

Without giving the rest of the story away, Pusher 3 comes to a messy end when Milo's attention gets split between his prospective son in-law (who's forced to join the business) and an unstable human trafficker from Poland.

The Good: Like the two previous films, Pusher 3 has a raw, realistic feel that's both compelling and stylish. The cast, many of whom are non-actors, are all natural and believable.

With a tighter narrative than the second film, Zlatko Buric's Milo is a very well-developed protagonist. We loathe him for being a career criminal, but his humanity and deep-down compassion make him a complex and often sympathetic character.

The greatest thing about the Pusher trilogy is the way in which director Nicolas Winding Refn explores the way his characters change from film to film. The intimate, documentary-like camera work is effective in drawing you in and almost making you a participant in the story's sequence of events.

The Bad: As good as the documentary-like camera work is, the fact that many of the shots are hand-held nearly gave me motion sickness. But that's nothing compared to the last scene of the movie.

I won't tell you exactly what happens, but it involves Milo and his old friend Radovan (Slavko Labovic) disposing of a pair of bodies. The scene is so realistic and incredibly disgusting that I literally could not eat anything for several hours.

I'm not kidding. It's THAT bad. Based on that ending alone, I will never watch any of the Pusher films again!

Who would like this movie: If you're a fan of depressing crime/drug movies about the dirty, sleazy underbelly of society, then you'd appreciate this foreign film.

It's very well acted and structured, and very realistic. But based on the ending alone, I don't recommend it unless you've accidentally ingested poison and need a way to induce vomiting.

(3 reluctant stars out of 4)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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