The world of EDM and raves is foreign to most people and to be part of those music communities, you need to be in it to understand it. Like the metal community, we see people who are passionate about going to raves and immersing themselves to famous European festivals like Tomorrowland, creating memories based on the DJs they see and the remixes of songs that have brought a positive effect on the community. Since its cinematic release last week, We Are Your Friends (directed by Max Joseph) has received terrible feedback by both critics and moviegoers.
Through this, we see a film that lacks a fleshed out storyline and one that focuses more on the characters’ lives rather than the music community. If only they had shown more of this connection between the DJs and its people, then maybe more people could appreciate the positivity brought by its fanbase – not one merely based on taking drugs and having a smashing time at a rave.
We Are Your Friends is a story involving Cole Carter (Zac Efron) who is an aspiring DJ and he believes that making one song will transform a successful career for him. His childhood friends Mason (Jonny Wetson), Ollie (Shiloh Fernandez) and Squirrel (Alex Shaffer) have dreams they want to accomplish as well, wanting a life of financial stability and doing jobs they love. With his friends doing everything they can to get Cole’s name out there at their local club, Cole is introduced to a veteran DJ of the scene, James (Wes Bentley). James is a charismatic go-getter who thrives for the party of the scene and he begins to act as a mentor for Cole as a DJ even when their first meeting doesn’t go as smoothly. Along the way, he meets James’ personal assistant/girlfriend, Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski), and Cole begins to fall in love with her. Although life seems to be sweet, Cole has yet to realise the tough realities of his career and his experience of loss.
Despite its cliché storyline, We Are Your Friends had the potential of becoming something great. For a music/drama film, it had a way of developing this sense of educational degree of the electronic music community. There’s a strong and empowering connection music has served for people and with Cole’s goal of making one song that will change lives, this was fleshed out in the film beautifully.
In rare cases, the cinematography had a way of making you feel triumphant and soulful as it captured the development of Cole and Sophie’s relationship so delicately as they ran across the atmospheric space during a music festival. There’s instances where you feel like the film is heading somewhere but due to its familiar path of self-discovery and learning, it just didn’t cut it as being one of the best films you could see this year. It would’ve been nice if Efron didn’t take the spotlight entirely and had the other characters be more involved in the film. Cole’s romance with Sophie and his business relationship with James felt like it took away from the true message of what the film was showcasing – that all you need is your friends.
If there’s one thing We Are Your Friends showcases well is its ability to show the connection music has for people. Although the development of the storyline was something typical, there were moments in the film that captured something magical. An entertaining watch but not enough to reach the stars.
We Are Your Friends is now showing in Australian cinemas