Reworded: Based on Teguh EshaTegu’s 1977 book, “Ali Topan” attempts to incorporate the common storyline of a wealthy girl falling for a charming, impoverished boy into an Indonesian setting, while also incorporating social critiques in the love story.
Ali Topan is being shown at the Busan International Film Festival.
The film opens with Ali Topan and a friend being pursued by the police while mocking the local authorities and listening to punk music. Despite his rebellious behavior, Ali Topan is adored by the Blok M community where he organizes music events. He meets Anna, the wealthy daughter of a conglomerate owner, and after convincing her, they begin dating. However, Anna’s father and a potential suitor named Boy are determined to keep them apart. The couple decides to flee the city to be together, but face obstacles as Anna’s father implicates Ali Topan’s family and Boy sends his henchmen after them. They must constantly evade danger, but eventually must confront reality in various ways.
The idea of a rebellious teenager with a kind heart falling for a wealthy girl who is exposed to the struggles of those less fortunate is a common trope. However, what sets Sidharta Tata’s film apart is his unique approach to the cliched plot. Rather than shying away from the Shakespearean elements of the story, he fully embraces them and adds depth by incorporating punk music and social commentary on Indonesian society.
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The text emphasizes the issue of inequality between the rich and the poor and the negative impact of the constant pursuit of wealth on the environment and specific areas. It also brings attention to the corruption associated with capitalism and the extreme measures the wealthy are willing to take to achieve their goals, as seen through the characters of Boy, Anna’s father, and Ali Topan. Additionally, the character Tata, along with Anna and her sister, challenges the notion that children should be defined by their parents’ actions and shows this through a thought-provoking comment in the movie.
However, Tata does not completely steer away from cliches. His storytelling often romanticizes the story’s development and ending. Additionally, certain dramatic elements, such as those involving Ali Topan’s mother and brother, feel out of place and could have been executed better. There is also a sense that some events may be unrealistic, and the frequency of these events adds to this feeling.
However, the performances in the movie are quite impressive. Both Jefri Nichol and Lutesha are incredibly charming, and their presence on screen is captivating, enhanced by their evident chemistry. Ujel Bausad’s cinematography is skillful, showcasing both the opulent world of the wealthy and the impoverished surroundings with equal artistry. The pace of the movie, thanks to Akhmad Fesdi Anggoro’s editing, smoothly transitions from moderate to fast, though it would have been intriguing to see the plot develop in the direction suggested by the initial scenes.
While “Ali Topan” may have some flaws, overall it is a sensible piece of entertainment that maintains a lighthearted atmosphere.