Release Date: Feb. 6
Director: Paul McGuigan
Writers: David Bourla
Cinematographer: Peter Sova
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Chris Evans, Camilla Belle
Studio/Run Time: Summit Entertainment, 111 mins.
Listless superpower flick can’t sort out story
By turns frantic and somber, the resolutely convoluted thriller Push dashes from genre to genre in search of a reason to exist. Directed in a rush by Paul McGuigan (Lucky Number Slevin), the movie follows a vaguely superheroic clan of misfits pursued through Hong Kong by a government agency—American, of course—that seeks to assemble them into a dream army. Enter nominal dude protagonist (Chris Evans, pretty and vacant) as he teams up with a precocious teen (Dakota Fanning) after Uncle Sam comes calling for an escaped test subject (Camilla Belle) with the ability to control minds.
Got that? Ready or not, the camera whips between exotic settings and occasionally inspired effects (floating guns, erased minds) as the plot complicates itself beyond all sense. There’s some fun to be had, especially the opportunity to see Fanning play a vamped-out 13-year-old booze hound while she chews up and spits out actors twice her age. And yet despite the breathless narrative and fanciful embrace of every color and quirk in the camera’s range, the movie has a marked lack of ambition. Instead of real flesh for its characters or a halfway coherent scrutiny of the world, Push settles for a routine rehash of superpowers and the confused people so inanely stricken by them.