Fans of the Pusher trilogy are especially fond of Milo (Zlatko Buric), the Copenhagen-based drug boss who hunted Frank (Kim Bodnia) in the first film and appeared briefly in the second installment (in a subplot involving secondary character "Kurt the Cunt"). In Pusher III: I'm the Angel of Death, a much older-looking Milo takes center stage for his turn in the spotlight. Of course, following suit with the treatment of the other antiheroes populating Nicolas Winding Refn's trilogy, the film catches up with Milo on a day where everything he touches falls apart.
As the film opens, Milo is attending a narcotics anonymous meeting. When it's his turn to share, he glosses over his addiction, preferring to share his stress about plans for his daughter Milena's (Marinela Dekic) 25th birthday party. After leaving the meeting, we see that Milo's still involved in the drug trade, although he's got a bit of a supply problem at the moment; a much younger set of traffickers are forcing him to accept their terms on a bad deal. It's not long until the situation spirals out of his control, setting him up for both a relapse and an über-violent solution to his problems.
Refn is more in control of his craft here than in any other chapter in the trilogy. Take, for instance, the moment where Milo's craving for junk returns; it's accompanied by the most frightening conveyance of addiction I've ever seen onscreen, telegraphed entirely by a sound cue and tight cutting. Buric is frighteningly good as Milo here, affable at one moment, psychotic in the next. It's his show and he makes the most of it, delivering a full-bodied portrait of the type of man it takes to succeed at a high level in the underground drug trade.
A warning: the film contains a level of gore in its third act that borders on the cutting-edge makeup and practical special effects that Tom Savini pioneered in 70s and 80s horror classics like George Romero's Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead. It's extremely repulsive but doesn't diminish the knockout performance by Buric one bit. It only makes him more frightening.
Pusher III: I'm the Angel of Death will screen at the NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium (in the Portland Art Museum) on March 10th at 9pm & March 11th at 7pm. The film is part of the retrospective series, Driven: The Films of Nicolas Winding Refn.
The Films of Nicolas Winding Refn: Pusher
The Films of Nicolas Winding Refn: Pusher II: With Blood on My Hands
The Films of Nicolas Winding Refn: Fear X
The Films of Nicolas Winding Refn: Drive
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