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On-screen chemistry aplenty in 'Toko Barang Mantan’

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Tue, February 25, 2020  /  10:38 am

Conveniently released in February, romantic comedy Toko Barang Mantan pairs Marsha Timothy and Reza Rahadian as lead characters for the first time.

Directed by Viva Westi, the film follows Tristan (Reza Rahadian), who is the owner of Toko Barang Mantan, a small shop that sells items of former lovers, ranging from movie tickets to dolls and suitcases. Each of them comes with its own story, and Tristan, helped by Amel (Dea Panendra) and Rio (Iedil Putra) in running the shop, is always willing to lend an hear to his customers.

Reza Rahadian (center) discusses his role in 'Toko Barang Mantan' alongside Marsha Timothy (left) and director Viva Westi during a press conference for the movie at Epicentrum XXI in South Jakarta on Feb. 11.Reza Rahadian (center) discusses his role in 'Toko Barang Mantan' alongside Marsha Timothy (left) and director Viva Westi during a press conference for the movie at Epicentrum XXI in South Jakarta on Feb. 11. (JP/Rian Alfiandy)

The shop may seem like a romantic gesture, as it gives a second life to items that were once very meaningful for the couples who owned them. However, the audience soon learns that Tristan has a rather pessimistic take on love, largely as a result of a cold relationship with his father and disappointment in his college sweetheart Laras (Marsha Timothy). 

One day, that very Laras walks into the shop to sell her engagement ring. Tristan sees the moment as an opportunity to patch things up with her, but little does he know that she has different thoughts on the matter.

Building the story around the shop makes for an interesting angle. The scenes of Tristan, Amel and Rio meeting their customers are among the hilarious parts of the film, especially since the three have different characters. Amel is the attentive one when it comes to listening to the customers’ stories, while Tristan often gets straight down to business and Rio tends to follow their decisions. The dialogue among the characters is also very dynamic and unpretentious, particularly during the scenes of Laras and Tristan quarreling. Kudos to award-winning Titien Wattimena for writing the script.

Read also: Rom-com 'Toko Barang Mantan' features Marsha Timothy, Reza Rahadian

Both Marsha and Reza play their parts well with a good on-screen chemistry, though they are arguably a bit too mature for the flashbacks showing their college relationship. Dea Panendra is the scene-stealer though, with her portrayal of the rational one when Tristan loses sight of his purpose in establishing the shop.

On a side note, sometimes the camera movement seems a bit shaky and slow. Certain conflicts in the movie should have been explored further, particularly the relationships between Tristan and his father that feels rushed as the film approaches the ending.  

Marsha Timothy (left) poses with Reza Rahadian during a press conference on 'Toko Barang Mantan' at Epicentrum XXI in South Jakarta on Feb. 11.Marsha Timothy (left) poses with Reza Rahadian during a press conference on 'Toko Barang Mantan' at Epicentrum XXI in South Jakarta on Feb. 11. (JP/Rian Alfiandy)

Reza sports a new hairstyle for the movie, thanks to a long-hair wig. For those who are curious, it was a decision by the actor himself after discussing it with the director. “When I read the script, I imagined Tristan to have long hair and wearing worn outfits. He’s also nonchalant,” said Reza during a press conference in Jakarta on Feb. 11.

Meanwhile, the movie’s creative producer, Lukman Sardi, said Reza’s decision was more than just creating a different look. “That’s the role of an actor; it’s more than just reading the script and playing the role, but also developing the character." (kes)

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