The Jakarta Post
Rudi Soedjarwo is back on the film scene, bringing a new side of him to the screen.
Does love need an excuse to end, or, as is the case with this film, do people need an excuse to start an affair?
Stay with Me is not trying to answer those questions, although there are hints and allusions scattered throughout the film.
The latest work by director Rudi Soedjarwo, who also served as coproducer, marks his return to the national film scene after a long absence because of financial problems that contributed to the end of his marriage last year.
His real life story, or at least 60 percent of it, makes the premise of the film, which was released in theaters on Thursday, he explained.
It may as well serves as a form of catharsis, enabling Rudi to move forward, after Mengejar Matahari (Chasing the Sun), which documented his childhood memories as the son of a police officer and his dream of becoming a director, as well as Sebelah Mata (One Eye Open) on his days as a boxer.
Stay with Me visualizes Rudi as a director who prefers to work on the characters first before concocting a story because 'different characters tells different stories', as noted by lead character Boy Dimas (Boy William).
It is obvious that Rudi let the cast develop their characters on their own, arranging the lines and the pacing by themselves. While this can take actors to a higher level, Rudi's directing style may conversely be the movie's main weakness.
The film tells the story of Boy, whose girlfriend Deyna Fellita (Ully Triani) left him and went to Europe after a tragic incident. The story is fast forwarded to six years later, when Boy finds himself as a successful film director who garners standing ovations- though not at home.
His wife Key Hapsari (Natasha Ratulangi) neglects him and their daughter Kimberly (Zahirah Syaikha Nugraha), demanding he bring more money home.
Boy then again crosses paths with Deyna, who is married to successful businessman Firman Hermansyah (Firman Subagja), with whom she has a daughter, Malka (Amalka Kairi Bramantyo).
The old sparks flare again. As they learn one another's marital situation, Boy and Deyna make a pact to leave their respective spouses. Boy gives all his might to make it happen only to find later that Deyna has decided not to leave her husband. And there's where the conflict begins.
The film's 115-minute runtime stretches the story somewhat, with a good deal of dialogue-less space filled by a score composed by Andi Rianto, including a theme song entitled 'Cry' written and sung by Boy William.
Most of the time, the lead characters don't speak like married adults, instead teasing each other like teen lovers.
The film, however, is visually enjoyable, with the early scenes of Boy and Deyna almost, but not quite, stumbling upon one another twanging on the heartstrings.
The lack of effort shown by the two couples to fix their marital problems (maybe that's the fault of the characters) and the minimum physical contact, besides some kissing and caressing while driving and one blurred scene of making out in the bathroom, makes the promotional tagline of the film as an erotic, adult love story seem glib and dishonest.
Right in the core is Boy, the director who, in spite of his big name, has to knock on doors to get sponsors for his new film and has to revise over and over again his story ideas.
The cast line is decent, with eyes focused on Ully Triani, a dentist by day, part-time model and actress who makes her debut on the silver screen with this film.
Boy William's maturity of acting does lend chemistry to the relationship.
Besides Natasha Ratulangi and Firman Subagja, also making a debut with this film is executive producer Rosa Rai Djalal, a dentist and wife to career diplomat Dino Patti Djalal.
Chinese telecommunications company Huawei sponsored the film, and some of its products and technology features are shown in the film, subtly supporting some momentous scenes.
As expected from the director Ada Apa dengan Cinta? (What's Up With Cinta?), marking a return to ventures in filmmaking not aimed solely at pleasing the market, Stay with Me offers a fresh choice and real drama.
' Photo courtesy of Integrated Film Solutions