Red and White -- Film Review



CANNES -- "Red and White" is true blue in its portrayal of Indonesian rebels who fight against Dutch rule in 1947. Although it has won popular notice in Indonesia and the Far Pacific, "Red and White" will only cast up a white flag at Western boxoffices.

An esprit de corps type saga, "Red and White" marches out like an old-time American war movie and, in this case, even bounces along with some Tommy Dorsey sounds. In essence, it's a rah-rah dramatization of Indonesians trying to overcome religious and territorial differences in fighting off the Dutch rulers.

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Unfortunately, under director Yadi Sugandi's stagey hand, "Red and White" is continually bogged down with stagey set shots -- everyone seems so perfectly lined up and assembled in a number of scenes -- that it never dramatically detonates. The narrative cadence is total lock-step, including a tedious segment of basic-training and soldier-bonding.

In the low tradition of such films as "The Patriot," the fighting is personalized to a revenge-level -- it even includes a My-Lai type massacre by the Dutch -- that reduces the larger political and social questions to little-good-guy-vs.-big-bad-guy mold. Overall, the screenplay marshaled out by Conor Allyn and Rob Allyn is generic, war fodder.

Where the "Red and White" does unfurl proudly is in its rousing and inspiring musical score, courtesy of composer Thoersi Argeswara.

Venue: Festival de Cannes -- Market
Sales: PT Media Desa
Production: Margate House
Cast: Doni Alamsyah, Rahayo Saraswafi, Lukman Sardi, Joe Sims, Darius Sinathrya. Director: Yadi Sugandi
Screenwriters: Conor Allyn, Rob Allyn
Producers: Conor Allyn, Gary L. Hayes
Director of photography: Padri Nadeak
Editor; Sastha Sunu
Music: Thoersi Argeswara
No Rating, 107 minutes