Studio: Warner Bros.
Reviewed by: Ed Coke
If you have ever wondered what the path to becoming a successful DJ is like, or you just enjoy watching attractive twenty-something’s dance and shake their money-makers in the SoCal sun, then the Zac Efron and Wes Bentley fronted We Are Your Friends is a movie you will want to check out.
Efron comes through with a surprisingly strong performance as Cole Carter, a talented young producer/DJ who has a run-in with the well-established yet jaded industry icon James Reed played by Bentley. The two meet at the club night where Cole has a weekly residency that’s promoted by his crew, and James takes the aspiring artist into his personal circle, providing him with all the necessary tools to reach his full potential. They grow close and help each other rise to new heights…but not without a fair amount of conflict generated by James’ assistant/bombshell girlfriend. Emily Ratajkowski, from the Robin Thicke and Pharrell Blurred Lines video and Entourage movie, does an impressive job acting the part of the conflicted but level-headed love interest.
While some may say the story follows too predictable a path and doesn’t provide much but an excuse for the cast to get turnt up and attend huge parties, the subplots of Cole’s friends and their struggles to find a place in the world outside the ‘burbs are actually quite satisfying. We Are Your Friends far exceeded my expectations and was a well shot, scripted and cast film that I’m afraid will go overlooked by most, but likely will be loved by those who take a chance and give it a watch.
As someone who got to experience Electronic Music’s first boom in the ’90s and saw friends work tirelessly trying to build a reputation in illegal warehouse raves and at remote outdoor events, seeing this story of the modern era dance DJ’s plight was an eye-opener. A vastly different experience than those faced by the genre’s pioneers at a time when buying the music, let alone seeing the acts live, was a challenge. Nowadays, iTunes, nightclub shows, and mainstream corporate sponsored mega-festivals provide the fuel for techno acts, creating some of the biggest earners in the music industry.
For a movie brought to reality for only a couple million dollars and directed by Max Joseph, best known for his short work, We Are Your Friends delivers both a visually superior and more satisfying storyline than many over-produced, big budget flicks out these days.