Tuesday, September 29, 2015

[Not a Review] 3: Alif-Lam-Mim

This is not part of the story but it seemed a part of history of Indonesia had inspired the movie maker.
In 1960s, there were several clash between Communist and Islamic group which several person were died or even died. The death of 7 army general in 1st October 1965 had made several events lead to the banning of Communist party and the capture of its member while only a few member had been brought to trial, a lot of them were imprisoned without any trial. The rest of its member were not so lucky, they were executed by angry mob.
In 1980s, the New Order reached its peak. It had deploy several mysterious group to executed criminals without any trial to create peace. It succesfully took down several extremist group. It encouraged the movie "Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI" to remind people how "disgusting" the communist were. It had election yet people already know which party would win so the election became a joke. However, New Order regime successfully reached the goal of Pelita project, to produce enough food for its people.

The history of the plot were parallel to what happened in 1960s and 1980s which consisted of the following events in its opening title:
- 2016, A night club named 1333 were exploded by fundamentalist group, a part of several night club explosion. Then a series of clash between red turban and black turban happened;
- 2018, Indonesian government decided to take harsh action against Islamic radical groups. Several organization was massacred by government army;
- 2021, Indonesian youth demonstrated against violence by both government and the radical group. They gave flowers to anyone on the street;
- 2023, a new regulation forbid Indonesian police from using real bullets. They were only allowed to use rubber bullet;
- 2026, Indonesian government declared it was the end of revolution.
- 2036, The year when the story began.

- Pancasila (Five Principles), the famous principle of Indonesia, had been reduced to Catur Sila (Four Principles);
- Indonesia were divided into several districts. District 5 were the abandoned Jakarta area which have ruined from revolution area. District 7 were the developed area which were populated by middle-class to high-class people. District 9 were the religious Area where refugee of religious group gathered;
- There were no division between army and policemen;
- The army/policemen symbol were replaced by Russian Bear logo -- it definitely not the East Borneo honey bear :D ;
- Some of Indonesian people had English as their 2nd language (there were several mix-language dialogue)
- Indonesia have both female president and female vice president and both of them were Chinese descendant;
- Gay marriage were legalized in 2026;
- Atambua became isolated place where its people were classified as 'indigenous people';
- While it had wonderful slogan e.g liberty, freedom, human right, we could see some place were allowed to display discriminatory sign and policy. We could also see the press did not have freedom as it said.

- poor choice of camera for action scene. While the fight was beautifully choreographer, I hardly enjoyed it because the camera frame rate (and probably poor editing) made the movement were so dry instead of flowing. We also perceived the fight as speed up although it probably was the actual speed;
- when the camera move in circle orbit surrounding two characters, Alif and Sanyoto, it failed to get the the clear image of Alif while he should be one of two focal point of camera orbit;
- poor music. In some scene, the background music score were too loud so it hard to hear the dialogue while I believe it should be a quiet scene. In other scenes, the music were not so creative so we could guess the temporary music being used in editing phase.
- poor mixed language. As a bilingual person in my daily life, I felt the English being used in the movie were unnatural and I believe the dialogue should be strictly in Indonesian. It ruin the flow of the dialogue and ruin the narrative speed. English sentences should be use minimally and only when the character had a good reason to use it, e.g when the topic being discussed were confidential.
- weird English text, e.g aparat, aparatus. I wouldn't say the english was wrong, it just felt weird;
- out of sync audio/video in early minutes. We noticed the delay between the punch and its sound effect. We also noticed the delay between lips movement and the dialogue. Fortunately, we didn't notice those delay in later scenes;
- lack of bruise effect while the bruise should be there.

- It has several decent fight scene. I just love it. Finally, after '2014' which shown in January this year and Berandal in last year, we finally have another Indonesian movie with a decent fight choreography. Unfortunately the camera didn't capture those scenes perfectly;
- It has believable sets. The art director gave a several object to show we were not in Indonesia we knew. I love the sign, e.g. the shield of Catur Sila, the discriminatory sign;
- It has a good lighting team. I know one indoor scene were shot in the night. However, the amount of the light made audience believe the scene was shot in daylight. We also have no problem in the night scene;
- It has a decent visual effect for futuristic monitor;

- It has good and relevant story although the dialogue were weird. However, some detail of the story were questionable;
- The Kyai character. I really do love Kyai character. His appearance, his principle, his daily life.. He seemed to be a good role model;
- I love when one of the army officer imitate 'Islamist' accent to mock the Islamic group. Unfortunately, the rest of his scene were not so bright.

In my opinion, 3: Alif-Lam-Mim had a chance to have an 8 of 10 for me but those technical complaint made me wonder whether I should gave 8 or 7.5.