From the beginning, the intention of this film was clear. It tries to give a somewhat satirical parody on many, albeit only a small fraction of social problems that were prevalent in the current Indonesia. Often, familiar monickers on the current happenings were thrown in and only made sense if you’re an Indonesian or had been living within the proximity of news about Indonesian at some length of time recently. Generally, I’m not a fan of this kind of film. They’re usually so full of themselves, and always pushing on their “message.” I had a relatively small threshold on how long I could endure such pretentiousness before finally giving up, by rolling my eyes and sigh out an exasperated sound. In that respect, I’d say that this film is a bit pretentious and some sections in the second act is a pain to sit through. Even so, I liked the way the film chooses to end itself and giving the recent competition from local film-makers, I came to a firm conclusion that if there’s anyone who could save Indonesian cinema, his name is Deddy Mizwar.
Reza Rahadian (I forgot his screen name) is fresh from college, and like most of college graduates, was hard pressed to look for a job. He eventually met with a juvenile pick-pocketer, and later introduced to their whole gang and their boss. He offered the result of his education to help organized the group. At first, he was alone, gaining a resistance and not surprisingly, an acceptance from the gang. He was later asked his friends to join in his cause only to be later, opposed by his dad, a religious figure that firmly disagree with whatever his son was doing.
At first, the real intention of the leading man for me, was unclear. Whether he’s there to help these juveniles to become a better pick-pocketer or to entirely switched to the good side, wasn’t really clear. Not until his friends joined in. I figured that this was because the leading man is less than capable to deliver something convincible. Anyway, my biggest problem wasn’t that. Somewhere in the middle, the film went too far by putting me on a wince inducing scene that went too long. I believe I’m not the only one who would felt this, but I guess that is a risk that you’d get when you employ that many child actors and putting them on a single scene. Not that I’m against child actors, but a decent child actors are terribly rare.
But apart from that, and that the film had often pushed a single keyword that at one point I almost wanted to check on Google to typed the keyword and see if this film came out at top, the film was quite good or terribly good if you compared it to other recent Indonesian film releases. Tio Pakusadewo steals every scene he was in and there are many witty dialogues that carry a bolder statement (and a smile) than the aforementioned keyword which shown what Deddy Mizwar is capable of doing but somewhat sorely missing at most of the length of the film. For the direction, especially during the third act (if one to ignore its convenient coincidence contrivances) was fluid and energetic enough to be enjoyed. Music by Ian Antono (I grow up with Ian Antono so it was a familiar tune for me) also helps to liven up the mood. And finally, the film also chooses to end its story wisely, kudos to whoever wrote the scenario on this film. It was a great way to finish this kind of film.
However, the after taste of that wince inducing scene sometime during the second act that eventually disrupt my level of enjoyment.
My rating: *1/2 / **** A bit low, but mind you, this is an unadjusted rating. I usually had a different rating system when it comes to an Indonesian film (which put this film at around **1/2 or ***) but decided to forego it. If you really love Indonesian film, you should at least give this film a benefit of doubt and see it. Maybe if this film has a healthy sales, more films that was at least this good were to follow suit.
The single keyword for this film was “korupsi” and its derivatives.
Update: it was Musfar Yasin who wrote the scenario.