You know those movies that are really good, and have so much potential, but don’t really hit it off with mainstream audiences so nothing ever becomes of them?
Push is one of those movies.
Push is set in a world where a group of people born with superhuman powers are being hunted by a government organisation looking to enhance their powers and weaponise them into super soldiers. There are nine known types of power: Watchers (see the future), Bleeders (emit high-pitched vibrations that rupture blood vessels), Sniffs (use psychometrics to track/hunt), Stitches (healers), Wipers (erase memories), Shifters (change appearance of objects), Shadows (can block visions of Sniffs/Watchers), Movers (move objects telekinetically), and Pushers (implant memories, thoughts and emotions into the minds of other people in order to manipulate them).
The film follows the story of Nick, a Mover, who is in hiding from the government agency, but is drawn back into the drama when Cassie, a Watcher, shows up at his door telling him he’s going to take down the agency with her help. In order to do so they need to free Kira, Nick’s ex-girlfriend and an extremely powerful Pusher captured by the agency.
The conceptualization of the powers and how they are used, both outwardly, and against each other, is really interesting. It feels a lot like a really good X Men film, but one that doesn’t have larger world building just yet. Push is very contained; yes, it hints at the global effects of the powers, but it mostly focuses on the immediate dangers the characters are facing. However, the end of the film very much leaves it open to expansion. I would have loved to have seen a sequel or even a mini series that explores the world in which individuals possess psychic powers that are strong enough to make an army of thousands irrelevant. I would also have liked to explore the parts that are not militaristic, such as whether Stitches could cure things like cancer, or HIV, or whether Watchers could prevent huge losses of life by predicting natural disasters, or whether Movers could assist in rescue of civilians and clean up after war/natural disaster/human disasters.
Or whether, like most things involving power, it would reveal the worst in humanity.
The film didn’t do so well at the box office, or with critics, pretty average on all bases really. While some of the criticism is warranted, a lot of it is not. Its is not a film that you can casually watch while doing something else, you do have to watch and pay attention to understand what is happening. The use of Cassie as a Watcher (being able to see the future) does mean that the film is a little jumpy in terms of plot and progression, but as long as you are paying attention you’ll be able to keep up.
If you like X Men, or films like Inception and The Matrix, I would definitely tell you to give this one a go, it might surprise you.