Four young Indonesian filmmakers team up to present five intriguing stories showcasing Jakarta’s dark side in an omnibus film titled Dilema (Dilemma).
Reflective of the collaborative nature of the contemporary Indonesian arts world, Dilema is the product of a group of young filmmakers, long familiar with each other’s working styles and creative directions, which offers a revealing glimpse into criminal underword often forgotten by many of Jakarta’s residents.
Directors Adilla Dimitri and Rinaldy Puspoyo, who collaborated on the 2006 drama 6:30, team up once again for another creative venture. In addition to co-writing the script with Rinaldy, and Wulan Guritno, Adilla also appears on-screen alongside Winky Wiryawan and Dinna Olivia.
Robby Ertanto Soediskam, previously known for his critically acclaimed film 7 Hati, 7 Cinta, 7 Wanita (7 Hearts, 7 Loves, 7 Women), also joins the club, along with newcomer Robert Ronny, who helmed Hattrick, starring Lukman Sardi and Arumi Bachsin. Actress Wulan makes her debut as the film’s producer.
Broken into five stories, the film explores several different aspects of Jakarta’s seedier side.
In “The Officer”, Ario Bayu of Catatan Si Boy (Boy’s Diary) and Darah Garuda (Blood of the Eagle) plays an idealistic rookie cop, Ario, who has high hopes of keeping law and order in Jakarta on the right track. As Ario is promoted to detective, he follows in the footsteps of his grandfather, who used to be a respected police chief in town.
On his first day as a detective, he partners with Bowo (Tio Pakusadewo), an eccentric veteran police officer. In the land in which corruption and bribery have been so rampant for so long, Ario quickly learns that enforcing laws in the city is not as easy as he imagined.
The second chapter of the film, “The Gambler”, follows the life of an ex-gambler named Sigit (played by veteran Slamet Rahardjo), who used to live like a king in an illegal casino, owned by his arch enemy Gilang (Ray Sahetapi).
Down on his luck and abandoned by his family, Sigit faces his “gambling addiction” in a return to the casino, tempted to risk it all to regain his good name and dignity.
Dilema also captures the actions of Islamic hard-liners, whose presence has mushroomed in the city over the past few years. Said (Winky Wiryawan) is an extremist who is capable of doing anything in the name of his religion and beliefs, including using arms, violence and vandalizing people’s property. After an ambush of a religious community, Ibnu (Baim Wong) begins to recognize Said’s manipulation and decides to get himself out of the organization.
The fourth story, “The Big Boss”, revolves around a young and successful architect named Adrian (Reza Rahadian), who is proud of his achievements coming from a troubled background as an orphan in a foster home. The plot takes a dramatic twist as he receives an invitation from Sonny Wibisono (Roy Marten) or SW, a powerful businessman with mob connections.
The final chapter, “Rendezvous”, tells the story of Dian (Pevita Pearce), a pretty young woman who has everything but happiness. Coming from a celebrated and wealthy family, Dian is deeply affected by the tragic death of her beloved mother, and drifts apart from her father.
To refresh her mind, and bring peace back into her life, Dian heads to the family beach house where she encounters a sympathetic woman named Rima (Wulan Guritno).
As the movie progresses, the five chapters slowly intertwine and engage with one another. As the title suggests, each story examines the dilemmas faced by each leading character.
Ario, for instance, is left shell-shocked by a series of events he witness on his first day carrying a detective’s badge, while Adrian has to deal with the bitter truth that might haunt him forever and change his life.
Embedding the storylines of the film in the shadier parts of Jakarta life, the filmmakers examine organized crime, drug problems, hard-line movements and corruption, and as such, the film looks at the dark side of the human heart.
“The Gambler” is powerfully and thrillingly delivered with solid performances by Slamet Rahardjo and Ray Sahetapi, while other chapters feel closer to a soap opera.
Verdict: The ensemble cast of both veteran and young actors delivers strong performances in a drama set in the darker side of Jakarta.
(98 minutes, WGE Pictures & 87 Films)
Starring: Roy Marten, Slamet Rahardjo, Reza Rahadian, Pevita Pearce, Ario Bayu, Winky Wiryawan, Baim Wong, Wulan Guritno, Lukman Sardi, Tio Pakusadewo, Ray Sahetapi, Jajang C. Noer
Director: Adilla Dimitri, Rinaldy Puspoyo, Robby Ertanto Soediskam, Robert Ronny
Writer: Wulan Guritno, Adilla Dimitri, Robert Ronny, Robby Ertanto Soediskam, Rinaldy Puspoyo
Producer: Wulan Guritno, Adilla Dimitri