Gue Suka Headshot (No Spoiler)

Gue cuma lihat trailer Headshot sekali dan ga punya ekspektasi apa-apa. Maaf, tapi begitulah sikap gue tiap nonton film lokal. Tantangan terbesar dari filmmaker Indonesia dalam bikin film Indonesia untuk penonton Indonesia adalah mengaktivasikan suspension of disbelief, simply karena kita sudah familiar dengan setting-nya. Inilah kenapa, demi apresiasi, gue ga mau punya ekspektasi apa-apa.
Lima belas menit pertama gue ga yakin sebetulnya. Ceritanya tidak langsung jelas. Tapi bolehlah usaha artistiknya. Ishmael (Iko Uwais), karakter utama, koma berbulan-bulan, bangun-bangun pengen berantem. Wah, Kill Bill amat. Tapi ternyata ceritanya belok jauh.

Dinamika kelahinya tipikal, seperti video game. Mulai dari lawan yang paling cemen sampai big boss. Tapi gue salut sama ceritanya yang menunjukkan rasa hormat pada setiap level kelahi dan konflik. Ishmael selalu dihadapkan pada situasi yang sulit. Nyaris ga ada deus ex machina. Beberapa perkelahian, physical stake-nya tinggi. Namun saat keadaan fisik tidak terlalu terancam, emotional stake-nya yang dimainin. It’s a nice trick, and I appreciate it very much. Beberapa perkelahian juga terjadi di ruang sempit yang gue ga ngerti mereka pasang kamera di sebelah mana, but it’s good.

Ceritanya ternyata straightforward, tidak melebar ke mana-mana. Penyampaiannya aja yang ga berurutan, karena ceritanya si Ishmael ini amnesia. Karakterisasi sendiri tidak terlalu kompleks, tapi nggak dua dimensi juga. Kelihatan mereka masing-masing punya kedalaman. Ada beberapa karakter yang jelas banget plot device. Tapi kalau ga ada plot device itu, ceritanya ga maju. Maka sekecil apapun kontribusinya, gue hargai keberadaan karakter-karakter itu. Bahkan karakter ‘ga penting’ ini juga dikasih kesimpulan. Gue semakin melihat rasa hormat yang mereka berikan terhadap cerita.

I appreciated the details they paid attention to in the story. What they showed and focused on are what they used in the movie. Granted, ada yang bocor juga dan sebetulnya bisa di-cut tanpa merusak plot, tapi sampai sini saja gue sudah hargai usahanya.

Headshot ada dramanya sedikit, jadi mungkin ada kesan menye-menye. Gue sih demen bagian menye-menyenya. Tapi itu mah selera ya :)) Dialog juga ga macam-macam. Secukupnya aja supaya ceritanya jalan, asal efektif menggambarkan karakter. Beberapa one liner-nya bahkan gue suka banget.

Makeup oke banget. Score dan soundtrack gue suka. Koreografi berantem gue juga suka. Yah ini filmya Iko Uwais yang kesekian, sudah sewajarnya berantemnya makin oke. Performance para aktor juga decent. Bahkan ada beberapa karakter yang minim dialog, jadi lebih berat di akting, dan buat gue mereka ga jelek-jelek amat. Khusus buat Chelsea Islan, menurut gue dia sebagai Ailin adalah performance dia yang terbaik dibandingkan sama film-film dia yang lain. I think she delivered a stellar performance here. Dan ada Rifnu Wikana! One liner favorit gue datang dari doi, “Mau ngomong apa lo anjing?”

Gue mengakui film ini ada kurangnya. Ada adegan berantem yang ga perlu. Cerita dan karakterisasi juga harusnya bisa lebih mendalam. Tapi gue selalu merasa kelemahan film Indonesia adalah bikin cerita yang koheren. Maka selama film itu nyambung dari awal sampai akhir, jelas poin-poinnya, gue akan menilai filmnya baik. Ada beberapa gap dalam cerita, tapi gue ikhlaskan. Gue ga keberatan mengisi gap itu dengan imajinasi gue sendiri. Termasuk soal Ishmael yang ditembak di kepala tapi ga mati. Gue merasa bisa menjelaskan itu, tapi nanti spoiler :))

Karakterpun juga cukup tersampaikan latar belakangnya apa, motivasinya apa, dan yang mau dia lakukan apa. Bahkan dengan dialog yang minimal, pengembangan karakternya masih ada. Terutama untuk karakter Ailin, yang gue pikir cuma di situ untuk jadi pajangan doang. Ternyata Ailin bisa mikir juga. Ishmael sendiri juga mengalami pendewasaan karakter, yang ditunjukkan secara halus banget tanpa banyak bacot. Dia ga cuma berantem aja karena terpaksa keadaan.

Gue bisa melihat kemungkinan spin off, dan buat gue itu artinya potensinya besar. Karena film ini punya ruang untuk dikembangkan lagi.

Buat gue Headshot punya lebih banyak hal untuk diapresiasi daripada kekurangan untuk disesali. Generally, gue bahkan lebih suka ini daripada The Raid. Buat gue, The Raid maksimal di kelahi tapi mengorbankan cerita dan pengembangan karakter (yang mana kekurangan ini diperbaiki di The Raid 2).

Selama nonton Headshot, gue berasa nonton live action manga. Mungkin bisa di-merchandise jadi komik juga. Sepertinya apa yang mau mereka ceritakan akan tersampaikan lebih baik lewat situ.

Gue terkejut banyak yang ga suka sama filmnya. Mungkin gue harus nonton lagi dan melihat penilaian gue berubah apa nggak. Either I missed a lot of things or I have a high tolerance for everything that Indonesian movies lack. I don’t know enough about moviemaking or martial arts, jadi maaf kalau gue sok tahu. But I did find it entertaining. As someone who writes, I focused more on story coherence and character development, and I think both are great. It’s another milestone for Indonesian movies. I would watch it again.

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Recent Development: Rap

Generally, I like rap. When it comes to music, I try to keep an open mind. I listen to everything. I pay attention to its creative process and business turn out. Some rap, I can understand. Eminem was a big thing in my teenage years, and he rapped some relatable things with catchy hooks. Some of my favorite artists also occasionally rap. It’s only when it comes to K-Pop I cringe whenever I hear rap. K-Pop has this habit of putting rap into EVERYTHING and I’ve never stopped asking why. And then fate hooked me up with Hamilton.


I’d heard of Hamilton for a while, but never checked it out. It intrigued me that there was even a crossover fanart of Hamilton and Star Wars, which is really weird. At the same time, I was also watching tons of Broadway shows as references for my own musical. I guess it was time for me to see Hamilton.

The first thing I did was download the cast album from Apple Music. Right from the very first line, my mouth gaped open. I thought, oh maybe they’re only going to rap for the first verse. Boy, how I was wrong. They rap their way out the ENTIRE show. How is it even possible? This whole musical is rap and hip-hop! Something I’d never expected to be spawned out of a Broadway show.

Not only Hamilton broke its way out of the old-age Broadway formula, the whole production is great too. I became obsessed with Hamilton in lightning speed. Until today, I’m still obsessed with it. I’ve had experienced Hamilton for hours and hours, and still I can’t get enough of it. There’s a million things I haven’t learned about it. The stage production, the storytelling, the research, the music production, the lyrics writing, and the character development.

Hamilton is a hit EVERYWHERE.

The great annotation project from Genius has helped me a lot in deconstructing Hamilton. Genius analyzed the show through historical, production, literature, and musical lenses. I didn’t even know that you can display character development through their rap lines, as seen on Lafayette (performed by Daveed Diggs). Lafayette is a Frenchman with stuttering English, but as he becomes closer with his American allies, his English gets better and suddenly he has the fastest rap lines in Hamilton. Then there’s also Hamilton himself. They show him as a brilliant man, a wordsmith, by giving him relatively more sophisticated rap lines than his mates. I can feel I’m failing as a writer already.

Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote Hamilton in 7 years. The cast is perfect. Their performances are perfect, their vocals and raps are amazing. I have spent my time obsessing over each and everyone of them. Hamilton has opened my eyes to the poetry that is rap. I was introduced to a whole new world of wit and creativity, and how it can collaborate with other forms of art. Hamilton shows me how rap can tell stories, protests, debates, and inner voices. I’ve been trying to learn more about rap ever since. And black music too in general. I’ve been listening to Raleigh Ritchie a lot, even though he doesn’t rap much. I’ve taken a little taste of Kanye West’s latest album, and am going to listen to his whole discography. The one I really have to pay attention to is Kendrick Lamar and I’m still looking for the right time for it. I have a feeling he’s going to blow my mind. Once it happens, he’s gonna consume my attention like hell.

Now, I want to start dipping my toes into history of rap, but I don’t know where to start. If you have any suggestion, please drop me a comment. Which representative rapper do you think I should listen to?

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Shadowhunters S01E03 “Dead Man’s Party”

Ok, so this is the episode where Simon is kept in Hotel Du Mort and the Shadowhunters gang is trying to rescue him.


Well, well, well, look who we got here. Camille! She looks petite, light footed, and very young. Considering she’s supposed to be hundreds of years old, it annoyed me that I can’t see the centuries of wisdom in her eyes. And what is she doing kidnapping Simon? Ok, I get it. The series is trying to establish her enmity with the Shadowhunters early on. But what irritated me the most is her magical power. Yup, she can flick her fingers and time stops. How convenient for vampires.

Anyway, they also introduce another new character here, Meliorn the fairy. I thought he would look more elf-like, LOTR-style. But this realistically human-ish one is all right. I like it. And there’s one scene of Izzie and Meliorn getting it on and I had to push the pause button because Toubia is too hot, I can’t control myself seeing her in red lingerie. Nooooooo.

Clary is as dainty as ever, but her chemistry works well with Jace. The show has done a pretty good job so far in establishing the characters’ motivation. Alec keeps asking Jace why the latter cares so much about Clary, and Jace keeps saying that he can relate to Clary. Cliche, and very straightforward, but at least it leaves out the mystery of why the two are together in the future. As rushed as everything seems, unfortunately, still no Malec yet, but maybe in the next episode.

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Shadowhunters S01E02 “The Descent Into Hell isn’t Easy”

Well, this show is moving faster than I thought. Spoiler everything here. It’s only episode 2 but we already know that Clary is Valentine’s daughter. Even Simon is in Raphael’s clutches already. I just have a little doubt over what they’re going to show us for the rest of the season when we already reached this point by the second episode.

On the other hand, I like how the show explains itself. Clary seems to be so unfazed by this new, confusing shadowhunting world, and Simon asks her about it. Clary explains that she doesn’t have time to be surprised when her mother’s life is on the line and this is the only way she can save her. Izzie has also slipped into her skin more comfortably. We’ve started seeing the budding friendship among her, Simon, and Clary already. Alec is still as distant as ever. I thought he would meet Magnus already, but nope, not yet.

And, oh, Clary is so dainty! She looks hot in that leather attire, but I can’t see how she’s going to be a Shadowhunter. At least her character is consistent. She’s clueless on fighting, but she’s fighting nonetheless. Where her heart stands is pretty much established by now.

Have I mentioned that they licensed Basecamp’s “Emmanuel” for the soundtrack? They only use the song’s intro but it excited me to hear it. The show’s cred shot a lot of points for me just for having Basecamp there.

I haven’t checked out the general review of the show, but I hope it’s good. I hope this show would have many seasons, because I know it’ll be good once they explore all the characters and give them more focus on future episodes. They all have interesting backstory after all.

Can’t wait for the next episode! I want Alec to meet Magnus soon!

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160116 Teater Pandora’s “Pernikahan Darah”

University of Indonesia has spawned another theater community, Teater Pandora. Last week I attended their recent production because Ignas was performing. Pernikahan Darah was an adaptation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s ‘Blood Wedding’, premiered in 1933. I never know the original material, so I saw it with a set of fresh eyes.

I was impressed by how they incorporated Batak wisdom in their adaptation. A widow is left with her only son and is full of anger towards the man that killed her husband and first son. On the other hand, her remaining son is getting married to a girl that she isn’t sure about. The plot thickens when we find out that the girl has an ex-boyfriend that hasn’t really moved on from her yet (even though he’s married and has a kid). Shit hits the fan when this ex-boyfriend runs away with the girl/bride on her wedding day. A fight ensues. Both the groom and ex-boyfriend die.

To be honest, it was dull in the beginning. The whole revenge plot is getting old. And it was actually old considering the original material. The Batak adaptation was exciting enough, but the excitement stopped on the setting. I thought they could have put more into it. When it comes to Batak culture, they could have talked about how important marga (family name) is (is she from a good family? Who is she related to?). But no, they kept the original names and didn’t touch marga at all. Moreover, in Batak culture, a groom has to pay a price to marry the bride, depending on her background. They could have talked about it, expanded it, explored it, to see how different the two families are and why this marriage is doomed. There was one point where the mother asked for a granddaughter to keep her company and I thought that is so not Batak. They’re strong on their patriarchy. Even if she wanted a granddaughter, she could have said, “But it’s unfortunate she won’t be able to continue the marga.” It’s only one sentence, but it still raises relevant issues. The play could have been more than a story of revenge and affairs. It could have contributed something, but it didn’t.

Then the characters. The groom is weak and a pushover. Unless they intentionally made him that way, he wasn’t interesting. The ex-boyfriend was full of passion and charisma, I understand why the bride would choose him. There’s also the confusing angle about why the bride chose the ex-boyfriend. She said she still loved him. Her relatives said she was raped. Now, if we want to take the rape angle, it could have led to interesting discussion, but strangely, the rape thing went away quietly. I honestly also don’t understand why the girl didn’t marry the ex in the first place if that’s how much she loved him. The girl’s father did nothing either when the groom’s relatives talked shit about the runaway bride. In the end, when both of her boyfriends died, the girl got to say nothing. She just cried. Ugh.

What I’m sorry for the most is the Neighbor character. In the beginning, I thought she was going to be that nosy Neighbor who knew everything about the village. Naturally, she also knew about the bride and ex-boyfriend who ran away. Interestingly enough, she had the decency to not tell the ex-boyfriend’s wife about it. Finally, we got to see some character! I don’t know what happened, but suddenly it was her who told all the wedding guests in the end about what happened. Now, that’s a let down.

But there’s a filler scene though. There was an interesting interaction between the Moon and Death (Ignas). It was obvious the scene was there for variety, and at least it succeeded. The discussion finally had some substance when they debated whether the Moon should be a male or a female. The Moon was hella adorable by the way. Love him. And the scene happened in this makeshift forest made of the actors. It was beautiful.

It was quite a short play, 1.5 hours. It would have been boring if it weren’t for the awesome choreography. They graced us with beautiful Batak dances for the wedding and fight, and I love the makeshift cartwheel they made for the newlyweds.

At least I learned a lot from this one. Mainly how to give female characters voices. That they’re not there just to be led around and cry. And how important it is to treat your characters with respect, to not just let them be a plot device.

Enough critiques. Let’s finish our own script.

All pictures taken from Teater Pandora’s twitter.

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