So, as I have already mentioned, Push is bad.
Let’s dispense with the usual; the script is bad, direction bad, acting bad. What really annoys me about this film is something I have seen in a few similar ‘kids with powers” films. Don’t get me wrong. I do like the occasional superhero film but it has to be right out there – it has to be a full suspension of all the laws of physics. What I don’t like is these halfway films which insinuate that these powers are possible by contextualizing them within an otherwise unremarkable world.
Sorry, quick synopsis here. There is a secret government division cleverly and ominously called The Division which experiments on people who have hidden abilities (not that hidden since they end up there) with the aim of using them as agents. Of course, some go astray and must be rounded up. The powers vary from being able to shout somebody down or to death, to make them think and do things, to discern a possible but likely future, and to move things without touching them (in other words the kind of powers you would get if you used a focus group of pre-adolescents).
Anyway, it is not so much that these powers are utterly impossible according to centuries of hard won knowledge about how the world works but that the director Paul McGuigan includes a little featurette essentially arguing that these powers could be possible. You’d think being a Scot he would have been a little more credulous about these things but allows himself on film to utter the insanity that these could work in cultures that have not shut themselves off to them ie Asian cultures. Asian cultures (and forgive the generalization) have been responsible for many great inventions and systems of philosophy but they are also a breeding ground for some of the most absurd beliefs on the planet.
(Actually one of the arguments in the featurette is that many governments had secret programs looking into the possibilities of these powers which of course proves that they must exist. But most of us are quite aware that governments rarely form the brain trust of the nation).
Not that we are free of those things in these parts. Surveys still tend to find (more in the States than in Canada but still) that most people still believe in ghosts. I have personally known quite a few people that have discarded belief in all religion but somehow persist in this last delusion. Somehow Occam has been left hanging; if it is a choice between some personal manifestation after death and some misfiring neurons I would bet on the neurons every time. I have heard strange and inexplicable sounds in the dark in my house but I prefer to mistrust my brain than upset everything else I have learned just to give meaning to one little blip.
But I digress.
The other thing that drove me utterly mad about Push and also because it happens in so many other juvenile movies these days is the romantic argument that comes up just when the world needs saving. You will not find this in older films. In older films, everything is left aside until the world is saved. But now, it actually is the case that you have the insanity of “well if you aren’t going to talk about it now, then when”..I would just once like to see a film where they do this, and lose the world because of it.
I guess we still need a part 3.