With the film, PUSH, director Paul McGuigan has created a reality in which certain people are blessed/cursed with gifts. Pushers can “push” their thoughts onto others, watchers can “see” the future, movers can “move” objects, shadows can “hide” objects and the list goes on. With the exception of a brief montage, we don’t get any introduction or buildup to this world. In this case, that’s a good thing and being dropped into the middle of the action was the best way to get the film started.
Of course, much like the X-MEN franchise, normal humans aren’t exactly fans of these people and therefore, a government agency called the Division hunt down anyone that displays special abilities. However, they’re not putting them in prison or anything like that, instead, they’re using them as lab rats with the hope of creating an elite warrior. But their tests have been unsuccessful until they find Kira Hollis (Camilla Belle) and she becomes the first person to survive the test. Coincidentally, she becomes the first person to escape from the Division and soon, the hunt is on.
Around this time, Cassie Holmes (Dakota Fanning), a watcher, has a vision that leads her to seek help from Nick Gant (Chris Evans), a mover. Her vision tells her that she must find a black case that Kira has stolen and somehow, the object in that case will help her save her mother, who was captured by the Division so many years ago.
If it sounds a little confusing, it’s because it is. Even if you follow along with the different characters and their abilities, trying to figure out exactly what everyone is trying to do and their ulterior motives can get tricky. Combine that with the fact that the pushers can distort reality and you can be left not really knowing what’s going on. McGuigan does an admirable job of keeping things simple, but his biggest problem is that the complicated plot dictates that there must be long moments of dialogue and all the audience wants is to see Chris Evans throw some things at the bad guys.
I can imagine that if McGuigan was given free reign, this would’ve been a three hour movie. There’s a gap in the story from the time Nick barges in on the Division to the time he develops the final plan. At some point, everything is figured out and he suddenly learns to use his powers. That gap isn’t necessarily distracting, but it makes the ending feel rushed and a little forced.
My guess is that a lot of people will be disappointed at the lack of action in the film. It has its moments, but like a comic book setup movie, it has to establish the world and the characters before we can have some action. If you can accept that, I think you’ll enjoy the world that’s been created. Although there was too much going on and the ending was way more complicated than it had to be, I enjoyed watching Nick and Cassie try to change their future and figure out what’s going on. There’s a great story at the core of the film, even if the story gets away from itself at times.