Directed by: #AndiMorrow
Written by: Andi Morrow
Short Film Review by: Jasmine Holly Bullock
Short film Pusher follows a woman named Brittany Lee and shows a few typical days in her life. Brittany Lee is suffering from cocaine addiction and the audience sees how she questions her personal choices. Brittany’s uncertainty about whether or not to do what is apparently morally right is explored via her interactions with various people, such as her mamaw and her estranged friends.
Filmmaker Andi Morrow is clearly a triple threat; she was able to write, direct and perform in Pusher impressively. Morrow, who plays Brittany Lee, is a formidable actress and is able to believably portray a range of emotional states. Another actor who stood out in Pusher was Dara Jade Tiller, who plays Hailey. Tiller is seemingly comfortable in front of the camera. Morrow and Tiller also had pretty good chemistry which is always a plus. All in all, there were no bad performances from any of the cast.
The dialogue that takes place is nice, purely because the conversations are very naturalistic. However, this can mean that it gets a bit boring for an audience member to listen to conversations that are average and aren’t always obviously important. Every now and a again, though, the script is able to nicely indicate Brittany Lee’s assessments of her life. Oh and, by the way, the Southern accents that all the characters converse in are like softly spoken music to the ears.
The actual music used is similarly lovely; the main song is ‘Part of Life’ by Josh Oliver. It’s country music and definitely has that southern-charm to it. The use of mainly guitar instrumentals is really calming but also sombre when combined with Oliver’s voice. The song is certainly fitting considering that Pusher revolves around a woman whose life is unfulfilling.
Settings in the film were diverse and visually appealing. The locations were carefully thought out, with the use of church and a pastoral lake as the spaces where Brittany Lee is really shown to be vulnerable.
Unlike most #shortfilms that I’ve seen, Pusher had a substantial amount of time to create a fully-rounded plot, with a run time of just under 20 minutes. Therefore, it was surprising and sad that the ending was anti-climatic. There is nothing that indicates a change in the story by the end of it. But in retrospect, maybe this was done with careful intention. Perhaps the ending is reflective of Brittany Lee’s life and where it is headed... possibly in a never-ending cycle of addiction and repetition. However, there is room for interpretation.
It is kind of refreshing to see a film that deals with common themes that occur in many people’s everyday life; addiction, self questioning and relationships with friends and family.
The plot isn’t ‘exciting’ in the typical sense because it’s not fast-paced or really eventful, but then again, life isn’t always exciting or eventful even if you are someone battling addiction. I feel like if this was a Hollywood produced film there would be a lot of glamorisation of addiction, but Andi Morrow has definitely not done so and I appreciate that. It isn’t an explicit or nitty-gritty film, but showing that addiction happens to everyday people and isn’t always the most obvious thing in a person’s life is somehow quite understandable and interesting to think about. But this, along with the simple ending, could be something that is hit-or-miss for audience members.