Monday, April 02, 2007

Film Review: Naga Bonar Jadi 2 (2007)

I give up the chance to see Jakarta Undercover (featuring luscious Luna Maya, which was my favorite in term of outside appearance) because i'm not so sure to spend some 25 thousand rupiahs to see that film. It was an entirely different matter with Deddy Mizwar.

So far i'm concerned, there was only a single rule in order to make an Indonesian film to be considered as high gain, and monetarily lucrative. Marketing. Sadly, you could safely bet that the producers who had more money to spend in marketing were those same producers who has been populated our tv screen with bloated series of Indonesian shit-netron. Thus, when one talks about Indonesian films nowadays, it would fall to either a teenage (a coming-to-age) love story, or a stupendous ghost-story. The marketing team to each of this kind of movies were literally shoving their ideas to your throat that no matter how you despised them, you could find yourself humming the tune of its soundtrack.

Well, anyway, Naga Bonar Jadi 2, in my opinion, was coming out of the blue to the theater, i've heard before of course, that Deddy Mizwar would made a sequel to Naga Bonar, a legendary pickpocket who become a General during the independence wars. Once it got out of the theater, i was like, 'Eh? they finished it already?'. Long story short, as i told you earlier, i grab the first chance of seeing it in a big screen. And man, i wasn't disappointed. And so does another couple of hundreds people at the theater who gave a standing ovation when the film was over. It was that good, really, and even though that it's still April, i would be so furious if this film wasn't get nominated for Best Picture at this year's Indonesian Film Festival (if there's still a Festival anyway).

Naga Bonar had a boy, played magnificently - though in my opinion, lacked the proper Batak accent - by Tora Sudiro, and he was a successful businessman. He had three aides (i would inherently named them Three Stooges) that bustling about wherever he goes, and of course, one love interest. Tora and his Three Stooges were about to sell Naga Bonar's land which was more than just a land for him. That was a short description of one plot. Another plot was Naga Bonar as a retired soldier, somehow saw and felt the lack of nationalism in our generation. There was a scene involving the Sudirman statue which made me wanted to cry. Yet another plot was .. the quest for love. Luckily, it was a minor plot.

The story went rather long, dragging in most parts actually, but the occasional funnies kept me at the theater. I say funny, mind you, not stupid slapsticks. The film was also filled with occasional critics to the social and political conditions here which i found it blessing, kept at the very minimum level, not more than two lines per critic. But the real meat of the film of course, the chemistry between Naga Bonar and Naga Bonar Jr. (Bonaga). They're perfectly matched on screen, their awkward-ness, their subtle understanding of each other's characters, their unsaid but expressed love, in a simple manner, this is what exactly the film was about, how to love when you can't say the word. Deddy Mizwar, Tora Sudiro, and Wulan Guritno were ones who drove this film, and they stood at the pinnacle of their careers. You may've remembered that i used to comment on how Wulan Guritno's one rare superb actress. Yes, she was good.

This film also bloated with many cameos. Of course, if you're an actor, how could you say 'no' to Deddy Mizwar? My favorite cameo moment was, i'm sure that anyone who seen this film would agree, when Julia Perez appears on screen.

It's my obligation to recommend this film, because therefore, you would be named as one that against Indonesian teenage horror films - not that they're generally unwatchable, but we need to see more genre variations to the Indonesian films - and supporter of a good quality films. How unfortunate that Deddy Mizwar was already at the dusk of his career.

Next stop, April 19th, Joko Anwar's Kala. From the trailer, the film featuring at least one Mexican-standoff. It was enough to pique my curiosity.

My Rating: *** / ****

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