Hidup adalah menentukan pilihan.
Adakala pilihan diambil dengan sukarela,
Adakalanya dengan terpaksa.

9 Naga was the 1st Indonesian movie I’ve watched in the cinema, and I’m glad about it. I wouldn’t want it any other way. You know what they say about 1st impression, and 9 Naga deserves much praise.

Given the 1/4 filled cinema hall, I’d say our audience is either not acceptive of this kind of movie or it’s just the late 9.15pm weekday show that I went to.

It revolves around 3 main characters, Marwan, Lenny and Donny. A glance at Marwan clad in his black jacket and jeans, dark tone and beard, one could imagine just what line of profession they chosed. As Marwan’s wife aptly mentioned: “Kerja halal yang guna pistol cuma polisi. Abang bukan polisi.”

Looking from the trailers and posters many had thought that this is an Indonesian Young And Dangerous. Quite the contrary. 9 Naga doesn’t show the excitement of being a badass, but instead it potrays the dillemmas, the problems, the cause, and the sick feeling they have everytime a ‘job’ is done. “Satu kali pun sudah banyak, bang…”

The story focuses on the three individually, their hopes and dreams, their responsibilities, their reasons of doing ‘it’, and the reason they’re still doing ‘it’. Rudy Soedjarwo managed to show all this and was done convincingly by the casts, where in the end we understand why they’re doing what they’re doing. Apart from the individual dillemmas, the team are shown with both love and friendship one could long to have one. No, friendship don’t do justice to it, I think brotherhood sounds better.

Technically, the movie did not disappoint me, although I was looking for flaws. Voices are mostly live recorded, so there’s no lip synching problems, as far as I could see. The saturated color grading used served to amplify the mood. And death, is potrayed as painful, thanks to the gurgling sounds of the last breath. There’s nothing new in the cameraworks but they served it’s purpose, as angles were chosen smartly, and camera movement brings the audience along the ride, not merely a audience. And the best part, was the song ‘Pulang ke Hatimu’ by a newcomer, Shera and ‘Lelah’ by Dewi Lestari. Listen to it, and you’ll understand how it fits the movie so well (you can hear part of it in the trailer). Rudy did manage to use new faces (and voices) to the max, as we would see fresh faces, and more easily submerge to the story.

I would like to say more, but telling too much good stuff usually will be regarded as advertising and will be ignored. However I am currently unable to find fault in this movie, other than it’s too slow a pace for a movie with such brutal title and posters. In fact, I was actually watching in detail in favour of a friend, for a project she’s on. Hey, I even know the word painted on the wall at the takraw/badminton court and what poster you could see in Lenny’s room. They only thing stopping me from truly enjoying the movie was she was frozen beside me. So girls out there, don’t forget to bring along something warm like a sweater or a boyfriend when you go to a cinema.

In other words…go watch it!I’ve done my part and am waiting for my own copy…

In writing this, I hope any Malaysian out there who’s making movie, please make a movie at least on par with this one… a Malaysian movie that I’m proud of.