There’s some shocking violence in Pusher II, but it’s a more expressive cinematic work, verging here and there on dreamlike surrealism.
Stream Pusher II: With Blood on My Hands
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Each film in Nicolas Winding Refn's mesmerizingly brutal Pusher trilogy can stand on its own, but it's fun to see all three and observe the way the bad guys in one become the sympathetic heroes (or anti-heroes) in another.
Along with the continual build-up of tension and threatened (more than shown) violence, pic is notable for its brutal depiction of the sex industry.
Where "Pusher" worked fresh texture and authenticity into a classic noir template, Pusher II reaches toward the mode of hyperrealist allegory perfected by the Dardenne brothers.
Pusher II works best when it's dwelling on the disconnect between Mikkelsen's lurid imagination and his disappointing reality, though it starts to fade when it becomes about the strained relationships of fathers and sons.
The breakneck pace, the seething sense of menace and the unflinching attitude to sex, drugs and violence coagulate into a nastily authentic take on the seediness and venality of modern villainy.
The introduction of a baby that Tonny supposedly fathered feels worrisome initially...but in Refn's skilled street-realist hands, the child becomes a potent, wailing metaphor for Tonny's own dilemma of rudderless need.
[Refn] mixes jittery hand-held camerawork, improvised dialogue and available light to create a nightmarish world of sex, drugs and horrific brutality that will turn off many viewers while delighting others.