The Jakarta Post
Time of your life: The exploits of Rico (Arya Vasco), Kevin (Raka Hutchison) and Adi (Bio One) provide much of the movie's humorous scenes. (Courtesy of IFI Sinema/-)
Jakarta offers a lot of adventure for young adults who hustle, but add in a penchant for the exciting and forbidden and they can end up facing a series of unfortunate events.
For those privileged enough, Jakarta offers a near limitless stream of good, clean entertainment, as well as a darker underworld for those brave or foolhardy enough to delve deeper.
While portrayals of Jakarta’s nightlife scene is plentiful across a wide range of media, a new movie titled Menunggu Pagi (Waiting for Morning) aims to offer a perspective from your typical young adult, bad decisions
The Teddy Soeriaatmadja-directed movie tells the story of Bayu (Arya Saloka), a vaguely hipster-esque millennial who runs a vinyl store in Pasar Santa, which is basically the go-to place in Jakarta for the obscure and socially awkward.
Bayu is constantly harangued by his friends Rico (Arya Vasco), Kevin (Raka Hutchison) and Adi (Bio One) to attend the Djakarta Warehouse Project (DWP), a major electronic dance music festival immensely popular with the younger crowd.
While Bayu feels that DWP is not his thing and refuses to go, a chance encounter with a girl named Sara (Aurelie Moremans) in his shop is enough to change his mind, setting off a chain of events that leaves a major impression on everyone involved in the span of approximately 12 hours.
Being a 17+ movie, Menunggu Pagi does not shy away from portraying Jakarta’s seedy underbelly in a censor-friendly presentation, where sex and drugs are a commodity freely traded, provided you know the right place and people.
In fact, the movie opens with a shot of a party scene, where Martin (Mario Lawalata) the cool DJ with the bad-boy archetype is revealed to be both a drug user and small-time dealer in cahoots with a local drug lord.
Chance encounter: Menunggu Pagi’s plot kicks off when Bayu (Arya Saloka) meets Sara (Aurelie Moremans) in his vinyl shop. (Courtesy of IFI Sinema/-)
Even so, Menunggu Pagi also depicts the negative consequences of being involved in drug trade, evidenced by different subplots following Martin’s difficulty in moving his stock as well as his apparent pettiness in drugging Adi, who chickens out last minute from buying Martin’s merchandise.
The subplot involving Adi’s drugged state provides much of the movie’s humorous scenes through his zany, delirious hallucinations, but it also serves as a major headache for Rico and Kevin who had to keep him and themselves out of trouble.
While amusing, the antics of Adi, Rico, and Kevin are still rooted in realism, never veering into the kind of debauched tomfoolery you might see in The Hangover trilogy for plausibility.
This plausibility is what made Menunggu Pagi socially relevant for many of Jakarta’s young adults, even though the most exciting thing they might do after DWP is probably drunkenly eating leftover pizza off the floor at 5 a.m. rather than engaging in a Hollywood-style car chase with burly men they piss off at a bar.
However, the movie’s characterization seems to be forced at times, with Bayu’s character ticking every checkbox in the stereotypical millennial list; vinyl enthusiast, runs a shop in Pasar Santa, does not like popular festivals, and drives a boxy Volvo wagon.
The movie also revels in cramming every problem known to the millennial generation in a single screening along with an obligatory romance subplot; from leaving a toxic relationship, learning to move on, as well as the aforementioned problems that might arise in the drug trade.
In a sense, Menunggu Pagi can be said to be a cautionary tale about partaking in the more dangerous and illegal side of things in search for excitement, as well as a strong argument for having unproblematic friends, evidenced by Bayu who had to deal with the consequences of his friends’ shenanigans.
For all of their faults, though, Rico and Kevin never once leaves Adi behind, despite the troubles they get into by sticking with an unpredictable wildcard, so the movie does advocate for the importance of friendship.
If there’s one thing viewers could consider after watching Menunggu Pagi, if your friends are anything like Bayu’s circle, you might want to reevaluate your friendship for the sake of your sanity.
Director: Teddy Soeriaatmadja
Writer: Teddy Soeriaatmadja
Cast: Arya Saloka, Aurelie Moremans, Arya Vasco, Bio One, Raka Hutchison, Mario Lawalata, Yayu Unru, Ganindra Bimo, Putri Marino
Running time: 75 minutes