Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 5
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

DOWN BUT NOT OUT: The Mover Nick (Chris Evans) appears to have been cornered by the agents of Division. To see if Nick — together with his companion Mover Cassie (Dakota Fanning, not shown) — manages to escape from this and other equally desperate situations, you must go and see the movie.

Push: Mutants Make Mayhem in Science Fiction Mindbender

Nick (Chris Evans) is a so-called Mover who has been born with the ability to manipulate objects with his mind, a trait he inherited from his late father. Thirteen-year-old Cassie (Dakota Fanning), on the other hand, is a Watcher, which means that she can see far into the future. She’s been on her own since her mother’s mysterious disappearance.

And what exactly is the source of their superhuman powers? Apparently, a Nazi scientific experiment during the Holocaust, in which children were fed milk laced with radioactive iodine, went haywire. Consequently, today there are not only second generation Movers and Watchers on the loose, but a whole race of mutants who are able to perform paranormal feats. These include Pushers, who are capable of altering others’ minds; Bleeders, who can rupture eardrums by emitting high-pitched sounds; Sniffs, the psychic equivalent of bloodhounds; Stitchers, who can heal the sick instantaneously; Shadows, who can block the clairvoyant visions of Sniffs; Wipers, blessed with the ability to erase memories temporarily or permanently; and Shifters, masters at creating optical illusions.

Not surprisingly, people endowed with these paranormal abilities have attracted the attention of despots who would like to dominate the world. As a preventive measure, a covert U.S. spy agency called Division has been rounding up all the rogue mutants in order to keep the world and the mutants safe.

Early on in the movie, we learn that a team of agents led by Henry Carver (Djimon Hounsou) has found Nick and Cassie in Hong Kong and plans to bring them back to America to put them to work in the service of their government. The plot thickens when the two young expatriates meet each other and agree that they’d rather remain free than work for Division. The pair decide to try and find Nick’s ex-girlfriend, Kira (Camilla Belle), the only person they know of who has managed to escape the clutches of Division.

This proves to be easier said than done, because within Division, Carver has Pushers, Movers, Watchers, Shifters, Bleeders, Stitchers, Sniffs, Shadows and Wipers, at his disposal. So, the chase is on, and the science fiction adventure, whose plot is not always easy to follow, is a thrilling and thought provoking roller coaster ride which you’ll probably have to see more than once to understand.

Even though Push’s “fugitives on the run” storyline is fairly conventional on its face, appearances can be deceiving when you’re dealing with supernatural characters who are able to morph at will. Congratulations to two-time Oscar-nominee Djimon Hounsou, Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, and Camilla Belle for their excellent acting in a production where lesser actors might have been dwarfed by the special effects.

A harrowing mindbender which successfully blends elements of X-Men, The Matrix and Memento while adding some of its own unique science fiction flavor.

Excellent (3½ stars). Rated PG-13 for profanity, teen drinking, and intense violence. In English and Cantonese with subtitles. Running time: 111 minutes. Studio: Summit Entertainment.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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