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Headscratchers: Push

The film about psychics called Push has examples of:

  • What does the word "Bleeder" have to do with shouting so loud that you kill people and break things? The names for the other types of psykers make sense, either as a literal or metaphorical description of what they do or as an explanation of how they go about it. "Bleeder" makes so little sense I had just about convinced myself everyone was saying "Bleater".
    • I believe it's because they make you bleed (out the ears). Though I do wonder why they didn't just call them Sirens.
      • Because Sirens don't do that
      • Or how about Banshees?
      • All the other power people had an -er suffix. Siren and Banshee does not match up with the nomenclature.
      • Sniffs, Shadows, Stitches
      • "Screamer" works. Or would that be copyright infringement?
      • The soundwaves they project are strong enough to burst blood vessels. In the movie, there's a scene where they unleash their powers and some fish get caught by their screams. If you pay attention, the fish die almost immediately from bleeding. Sound is just pressurized air, after all.

  • Why does Victor hate Nick so much?
    • It's his job to be The Dragon to Carver}. I wouldn't call it personal.
      • Presumably he's also a sadist who enjoyed beating the crap out of an inferior mover.

  • Maybe someone with a background in science can either clear this up or dismiss it as Hollywood Science: The premise of the movie follows a post-WWII agency called the Division that employs and/or exploits people with psychic powers for military purposes. At some point, the Division developed a serum that boosts the powers of these psychics. But they have a problem: it is explicitly stated that the serum has killed every single psychic it was given to, except for one (a "pusher" named Kira Hollies), who was discovered recently. So...how did they develop the serum? How did they know it would eventually boost psychic powers? How did they even know psychic powers could be boosted at all? The only thing all of their efforts have yielded are dead psychics, which works contrary to the goal of having super-soldiers. Typically when a hypothesis is shown to be false, scientists will go back to the drawing board and try to correct their mistakes. What they won't do is spend fifty or sixty years killing off their potential soldiers in the hopes that one of their subjects will eventually both survive and gain an upgrade to their powers. It seems to me that at some point in this process, they would have most likely decided that the best way to boost the psychics' powers is put them on the payroll and give them proper training with what they have.
    • To elaborate on that last bit: offering the psychics a government job with a steady paycheck, benefits, and a nice pension would be a much better way of gaining their long-term loyalty. Killing them all off for the sole reason of pursuing a futile endeavor is just a heavy-handed means of showing that the Division is an evil government branch. Not only would giving them employment and proper training reduce the chances of rebellion, it would have meant having a lot more soldiers and agents instead of an absolutely wasted pile of corpses.
    • It could be that they somehow discovered what causes psychic powers/what determines how strong they are by some unexplained means, and used that to develop the serum. As for why they were so certain it would work eventually, I refer you to the above troper.
      • Developing any drug means you have at least a general idea of what you want it to do - certain chemicals will always react certain ways under certain circumstances, which is how they "knew" what the serum would do. It's not that the serum remained static for each subject, they just had to keep revising it to try and get it to work. It's not that Kira was special as a pusher (Carver says so, but he's proved to be a lying manipulator through the entire film), it's that she got the first dosage of a serum that didn't kill the patient - the serum that worked. Granted, this raises other questions, such as why they would have No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup for, of all things, a super serum - which could be easily recreateable if they had the formula. As for why they didn't just keep training people, they obviously have, and now they want a method that's either (a) easier (or quicker results) or (b) limit-raising, so the psychics can push their powers past their normal boundaries, like overclocking a computer to go beyond the normal performance.
      • They had the formula, they were worried about other governments reverse engineering it. It was also likely an intersection of the formula and the girl, so they had to test her to see what combination made it work, and would have to tweak the formula for other supers. They also had to worry about her pushing a bunch of people to take revenge on them.
    • My impression from the movie was that the serum consistently kicked powers into overdrive, but killed them within 24 hours by burning out the body, one of the reasons it was so worrying that Kira was spitting up the black stuff (blood and/or liquefying/deteriorating organs). As for why the government doesn't just hire the people... well, that gets into whether they've classified the conflicts using the psychics as wars and the psychics as weapons of mass destruction. Most governments have provisions for drafts during times of war and there isn't always a lot of choice in the matter.
    • In addition, Kira didn't completely survive the process; she started bleeding and Carver said she'd die unless he gave her some injections. Since it was described as a psychic steroid, it was probably like most prototypical illegal super-drugs in that it pushed the human body beyond its capacity to survive.

  • Wouldn't the soy sauce prove even deadlier than the drug? Injecting that much salt into your veins can't be healthy, to say nothing of the infection from the (probably not sterile) sauce.
    • A google search reveals answers of questionable correctness, but the two clearest results said no, it's not a great idea, but it probably won't kill you or make you violently sick.
    • Also, keep in mind he did go into a seizure and fall unconscious.
      • Which should've been the first clue for Carver that something was wrong. Kira only went into a seizue a few seconds after the injection. Nick starts seizing as soon as he injects himself. Is that really enough time for anything to work? Besides, he was probably faking.
      • Remember that Kira was the only one who the serum hadn't killed. The others had likely died in ways similar enough to what Nick did that Carver didn't question it, having seen it numerous times before.

  • Why doesn't Division push all of the psychics like Kira who are under their custody?
    • Because Pushing Kira doesn't turn out all that well. A Push can be resisted, or eventually unraveled; it's not Mind Control so much as rewriting some memories. Seems like a temporary solution. Especially on individuals who know what it is and how it works.

Push as a term for Mind Control:

  • Did this film invent it and if not, where did they get it? Since this film came out, Heroes, Alphas and a few other places have used the term.
    • I think it was first used in the Stephen King novel Fire Starter, where it refered to psychic powers in general (The father "pushes" a pay phone to make it eject all of its coins, and later "pushes" a scientist to convince him to let him and his daughter go)
    • The X-Files also used it to refer to the psychic character Robert as the "Pusher".
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