(Yeah, it was Scandinavia night up at the old film festival.)

So Pusher 3 is advertised as a crime drama, which I guess is accurate in that it’s not a comedy or a thriller and it’s set in a criminal milieu. On the other hand, before the movie Nicolas Winding Refn, the director, told us that he was inspired by reality TV. That’s a lot more of the feel right there.

It’s a bleak night in the life of Milo, Copenhagen drug dealer. He’s attending NA meetings to try and kick his habit, cooking dinner for his daughter’s 25th birthday party, and dealing with the unexpected arrival of 10,000 Ecstasy tabs instead of the heroin he’d expected. If that sounds like there’s a comic aspect — yeah, there is, but it’s used to highlight the empty grind that’s Milo’s life.

His cooking and his human interactions are a tired hulk of a man bulling his way through an existence he doesn’t particularly enjoy. He doesn’t want to engage in the sudden bursts of violence that come later in the movie, but he’s got to do it. There’s no path that’d take him out of the swamp.

Not so much plot. It’s a slice of life; it’s reality TV focusing on criminals. Things happen, and Milo doesn’t particularly change as a result of them. It’s Zlatko Buric’s performance as Milo that binds the movie together. He’s ugly, tall, and weary in every moment of film. Refn isn’t afraid of the long wordless reaction shot; Buric bears out the director’s trust. This was probably my favorite performance of the festival so far.

Grade: A-.