DVD/Blu Ray

We Are Your Friends (15) | Home Ents Review

We Are Your Friends

Dir. Max Joseph, US, 2015, 96 mins

Cast: Zac Efron, Wes Bentley, Emily Ratajkowski, Shiloh Fernandez, Alex Shaffer, Jonny Weston

Exploring a narrative based upon a very popular music scene at the moment, Electronic Dance Music or EDM to its followers, is  a great idea: creating a thumping soundtrack to a movement of youth, freedom and soul exploration; encapsulating the long dark nights in dingy underground clubs, the bright sun-rising mornings with friends and strangers whilst intoxicated on whatever poison you choose.

It’s living in the moment, being around people like you, in beautiful surroundings, beautiful soundscapes and beautiful people. I guess the notion here is to make this mode of living aspirational. Living for the moment not the future. Not worrying about work or money or eating or health but focusing on the hard beats and melodic choruses.

Being able to wrap a progressive narrative around this would be difficult and to a certain extent, Max Joseph, Meaghan Oppenheimer and Richard Silverman do so, maybe not as effectively as it could have been done, but enough to create an uplifting and nod-worthy tale of a DJ’s rise to fame.

Joseph, more known for his crime-busting skills on the popular MTV show Catfish (of which I’m an avid viewer), shows a flair behind the camera that takes the style of MTV and makes it functional between the layers of EDM and its scene. And by having the ever charismatic Zac Efron star as Cole, a struggling DJ working in Californian clubs and bars; his enthusiasm and charm help carry this film along during its tedious parts.

Cole firmly believes in the notion of finding that one track that will propel him into the higher echelons of the dance music scene. Living in the San Fernando Valley, working terrible jobs with his friends Mason, Squirrel and Ollie, each presenting a varying character type (the hard-nut, the weirdo and the druggie), and trying to expand Cole’s reach as a DJ, he meets James Reed, an icon in the genre who sees something in Cole.

But it can be never be as perfect as it sounds as he falls for Reed’s on-off girlfriend and personal assistant, Sophie, and soon begins the rollercoaster ride of drug taking, loud EDM pumping throughout scenes of partying, DJing and friendship.

The music is not normally a genre that would be engaging as it is, but I believe it works here, the choices make sense and keep the tempo going even through tough scenes of loss of friendship and heavy decisions. Sure it has its clichés that burn fast and hard but it’s a decent thrill ride taken along a track not well versed. It’s original without being overly complicated.

And right now, with 2016 firmly set in, non-complication is the perfect thing to want.

Review by Simon Childs

We Are Your Friends is out now on DVD.