Lately there’s a blooming interest in doing marathon in Jakarta, some do it because of their hobbies, some pick up the habbit as sport to improve their health, some do it because it seems cool and become the latest ‘it’ lifestyle. Mari Lari (means Let’s Run) is release right in the thick of it, what an impeccable timing! Although this is the debut feature of Delon Tio as a director. The man is no stranger to Indonesian film industry, previously known as the producer behind a handful of commercially successful films (including Mo Brothers’ Macabre)
Meet Rio (Dimas Aditya), he got kicked out of his home after 7 years of law school that he dropped out of lawschool, he got a job at a care dealership but his sales ability was questionable, he never finished anything (at all) in his life. After his mother passed away, Rio moved back to his home, though he fell under the pressure of the strained relationship with his skeptical father, Tio (Donny Damara). When an invitation for a marathon event for his ex-athlete father and his late mother came in the mail, Tio felt compelled to try his hardest and do it as an honor to his mother. Trying to fulfill the oath he made to his mother: he will try to finish what he had started. Under the guidance of his not-so-secret crush Anisa (Olivia Jensen), can he honor his mother and keep his words?
The story remind me of a stereotypical dame otoko (good-for-nothing man) journey from zero-to-hero that i usually found in japanese drama series. Even so i have to applaud the script for the film for making the simple story have warmth by creating a proper dialog. One of my problems with Indonesian films (no matter how great the actors/actress in their roles) is with its dialog, making it felt stunted or overtly dramatic. I love how the lines here are very conversational and effortless. Unlike some film that felt they need to inject as many crappy romances into a plot, Mari Lari kept the focus on Rio’s self-transformation through his running experiences. Keeping the romance as a side dish that you’d taste without over powering the main course. Another side plot of recapturing the bond between father and son took a bigger portion here. With Damara showing the level of acting skill that can stopped my breath just from a silent hurt that fleeted in his eyes, coming close to stealing the show. Aditya plays Rio transition seamlessly from the man who easily give up to the man who belong at the top, with his down-to-earth charm and likable persona.
So, why the two star rating? Is it because the unnecessary animated sequence of the history of marathon? No, i don’t mind that, i even found it quite cute. Is it the fact that you can cut the film parts and rebuild them into Marathon 101 tutorial? Nope, i found it informative, corresponds to the film well, and it is actually inviting people to learn more about the sport. Is is the weird camera angles and movements and uneven quality of the shots? It is odd and some are just way too experimental to the point that i question why they did not get cut in the editing phase. But my main problem with this film is its aggressive, egregious products placements all over the film to the point that they got distracting. I felt like i watched about a dozen of commercials for various brands: from sports apparel, to luxury vehicle (i still have a note of the brand names on my phones, in case you are wondering). Not only they got distracting, it is very aggressive and lack of subtlety. I’m talking about filling the screen with a brand name and finding scenes out of car ads commercial in the film. I am aware the hardship of indonesian filmmakers in securing funds to make a film nowadays, so maybe selling out to commercial products like this are unavoidable. Still, subtlety is key, people!
Mari Lari is still a nice feel-good movie. The film refreshing sports genre mixed with comedy and bits of drama and romance, is a welcome change to the usual cheap flicks we usually got from our local films. Its brimming with positive energy and inspirational encouragement. I believe it would be appealing to broad spectrum of audience. Although i’d only say it’s okay, i’d say go watch it anyway :) Who knows, maybe you’d enjoy it so much it inspires you to take up running too, huh?
MARI LARI (2014)
DIRECTOR Delon Tio | PRODUCER Delon Tio, Yasha Chatab | WRITER Ninit Yunita | MUSIC Subiakto | CINEMATOGRAPHER Faozan Rizal | STUDIO Nation Pictures | DISTRIBUTOR Nation Pictures | COUNTRY Indonesia | RELEASE June 12, 2014 (ID)
STARRING Dimas Aditya, Olivia Lubis Jensen, Ira Wibowo, Donny Damara, Ibnu Jamil, Verdi Solaiman, Amanda Zevannya