A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Directed By: Max Joseph
Produced By: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Liza Chasin
Written By: Richard Silverman
Starring: Zac Efron, Wes Bentley, Emily Ratajkowski
Running Time: 96 Minutes
Motivational films are meant to promote a moral message, demonstrate a protagonist’s struggle to make something of themselves and establish that it’s a tough old world out there.
We Are Your Friends is the latest indicator that Zac Efron needs a new agent if he is to prove himself as a serious actor and also that director Max Joseph should stick to holding his digital camera against his face as he interrogates Catfishes on MTV…
For what seems like a film that could have surprised audiences like Spring Breakers did back in 2012, We Are Your Friends sweeps the cutting room floors of films such as Entourage and The Wolf of Wall Street, then presents us with a stylistic music video that is anything but a inspirational cautionary tale.
Efron stars as the ‘down on his luck’ protagonist who becomes involved in a love triangle that complicates his lucky opportunity to make it big in the saturated DJ scene. With supporting performances that agitate more than excite and almost every cliché in the book on show, We Are Your Friends is pretending to be something it isn’t, and sadly it falls rather short.
Progressively, We Are Your Friends is the filmic equivalent of a 4-minute techno track that builds for 180 seconds, only to return to something less stimulating in the finale of the song where it should otherwise have been its most impactful.
The conclusion of the film is unsatisfying and contradictory to a lot of the story elements dealt with in the first two acts, but that’s not where We Are Your Friends loses its most credibility.
Regrettably, it’s difficult to determine what the point of the film actually is. Too often, the narrative proves hypocritical and underdeveloped, whilst the characters are mostly unlikeable all the same.
For an uplifting, inspirational picture about success, the journey of that success and the hardships one must endure to make it big, this film more or less condones drug use, double-crossing and being in the right place at the right time as ingredients we as an audience are supposed to relate to.
This is very much a fantastical version of an underdog story, and even after it’s clouded by some stylistic visuals and edits, the story is predictable, uninspiring and as cliché as the music it’s based around.
Wes Bentley is very good as a DJ past his prime, he is part of a subtle but evident homage to American Beauty, Efron didactically shows the audience through visuals what is required to make it in today’s EDM circuit and also takes part in a visually stunning PCP rotoscoping hallucination scene, however apart from these positives, there isn’t much to recommend about the film…
We Are Your Friends could have been something rather enjoyable had it not fallen into cliché sloppiness and predictability.
Confused, underdeveloped and flat for most of the runtime, the film doesn’t ever take off like you’d expect. Performances are satisfactory, but nothing in particular catches the eye, whereas some impressive stylistic choices alluded to something better and more investable, which sadly never emerged.
There are things to like within the film, but not much to truly admire. Joseph has dreamed big, but has succumbed to convention and predictability along the way.