Projections - Movie Reviews

Pushing Tin

Pushing Tin defies classification.  Comic overtones fill the script that deals with burn out and pressure in what is assumed to be the most pressure filled job in existence.  The macho buffoonery never allows the satire to reach a bitting point, it leaves us up in the air, our feet never touch the ground enough to analyze the motivations, pressures and ambitions of the characters.  That insecurity in the script creates a compelling story without clear motivation.

Nick Falzone (John Cusack), an air traffic controller Pushes Tin at New York's Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) center.  TRACON is the air traffic facility on Long Island that handles up to 7,000 flights a day into and out of the finite airspace above Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports. He works in a room filled with confusion and radar scopes.  He is the best at lining up flights and keeping them on time.  His metal and determination is never shaken, until Russell Bell (Billy Bob Thornton) comes to town from a number of western assignments.  He is rumored to be the best and to have stood in the turbulence wake of a departing 747 to see what it felt like.

An instant rivalry ensues between Nick and Russell.  The zoo like atmosphere in TRACON is notched up. So is the personal side of life.   Their wives are know by numbers which reflect the first, second or third marriage.  When very sexy and generally inebriated Mary Bell (Angelina Jolie) joins the group she presents a new challenge.  Nick becomes interested; perhaps it's one more challenge to Russell. His interest places his marriage to Connie (Cate Blanchette) in trouble. Thornton and Cusack challenges range from who can line up more tin, reckless speeding through traffic in a red Cadillac and singing in Nick's favorite restaurant.

Pushing Tin is dead hibiscus plants, visiting sins on others, danger in the mind and in the work place, competition during a bomb scare and devastation when "I love you always" is said in french.  It is also filled with interesting, strong performances by every cast member especially by Thornton.  It can't be pigeon holed; it doesn't fit, but it is compelling.

It is rated R for nudity, sexual situations and language.

Pushing Tin


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