×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Belenggu

Neatly intertwining the dreams and reality of a troubled loner who might be a serial killer, slow-burn psychothriller "Shackled" reps a confident rise in class for genre-hopping Indonesian scripter-helmer Upi Avianto (2006's "Reality, Love and Rock'N Roll").

With:
With: Abimana Aryasatya, Imelda Therinne, Laudya Chintya Bella, Avrilla, Verdi Solaiman, Jajang C. Noer, Bella Esperance, Arswendi Nasution, Rifnu Wikana. (Indonesian dialogue)

Neatly intertwining the dreams and reality of a troubled loner who might be a serial killer, slow-burn psychothriller “Belenggu” reps a confident rise in class for genre-hopping Indonesian scripter-helmer Upi Avianto (2006’s “Reality, Love and Rock’N Roll”). Streaming pure horror and film-noir elements into a landscape that’s artsy but not pretentious, the pic delivers satisfying levels of intrigue and suspense. World-preemed at PiFan, this good-looking package should clock plenty of additional fest mileage, and has solid international prospects as an ancillary item. Domestic release details are yet to be announced.

One of the few femme filmmakers operating with any frequency in Indonesia, Avianto (credited here simply as “Upi”) kicks off the pic with an arresting dream sequence. Running scared through a forest, long-haired thirtysomething Elang (Abimana Aryasatya) is picked up by Jingga (Imelda Therinne), a sexy doll driving a vintage Mercedes Benz. Suddenly surrounded by corpses and a killer dressed in a rabbit suit, Elang wakes up to inform viewers in voiceover narration that Jingga is the “key to all the terrible things in this crazy town.”

A withdrawn figure who works in a scuzzy Jakarta bar and lives in a drab apartment block, Elang has eyes for neighbor Djena (Laudya Chintya Bella), the mother of adorable moppet Senja (Avrilla). Upping the intrigue, Djena’s suspicious husband, Guntur (Verdi Solaiman), is revealed to be a knife-thrower who dons a rabbit suit for his act in a vaudeville-like venue.

References to a dark secret affecting the community around Elang start to make sense with the reappearance of Jingga as a hooker with a Louise Brooks bob. Falling in love with Jingga and vowing revenge against the man who raped her, Elang appears to commit a grisly triple homicide, and is arrested by veteran cop Josef (Arswendi Nasution).

At this point, Avianto’s screenplay starts to steer dual courses. One reps an involving police procedural in which Elang is grilled by Josef and sidekick Arturo (Rifnu Wikana), but the narrative cleverly performs backflips as previous scenes are replayed, and characters reappear in different guises, notably Jingga as a provocative dancer.

Though Elang’s backstory is a little too sketchy for a little too long, Avianto’s imaginative storytelling and the pic’s unsettling visual and aural atmosphere should keep most auds absorbed until the triple-reverse finale.

Therinne’s eye-catching perf as the hard-boiled dame, and Nasution’s dogged detective are standouts in an impressive ensemble. Contributing significantly to the mystery is the topnotch production design, which brings a distinct retro feel to the contempo-set tale at well-judged moments.

With the rabbit-costume motif reminiscent of “Inland Empire” (and to a lesser extent “Donnie Darko”) and the creepy apartment-block ambience recalling “Blue Velvet,” the pic’s muted tones carry a certain David Lynch vibe, but never to excess. The screening copy viewed was pre-final sound mix, and contained incomplete credits; the rest of the technical package on display was fine. Title translates as “shackle.”

Belenggu

Indonesia

Production: A Falcon Pictures presentation of an H.B. Naveen production. (International sales: Falcon Pictures, Jakarta.) Produced by Upi, Frederica. Executive producer, Naveen. Directed, written by Upi.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen, HD), Ical Tanjung; editor, Wawan I. Wibowo; music, Sri Aksan Sjuman; art director, Iqbal Rayya Rante; costume designer, Andhika Dharmapermana; sound (Dolby Digital), Khikmawan Santosa; visual effects supervisor, Andi A. Manoppo; line producer, Herlam Lingga; associate producer, Sendi Sugiharto; assistant director, Ferry Pei Irawan; casting, Nanda Giri. Reviewed on DVD, Kampot, Cambodia, July 14, 2012. (In PiFan Film Festival -- Puchon Choice, competing.) Running time: 100 MIN.

With: With: Abimana Aryasatya, Imelda Therinne, Laudya Chintya Bella, Avrilla, Verdi Solaiman, Jajang C. Noer, Bella Esperance, Arswendi Nasution, Rifnu Wikana. (Indonesian dialogue)

More Film

  • Radegund

    Cannes Film Review: 'A Hidden Life'

    There are no battlefields in Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life” — only those of wheat — no concentration-camp horrors, no dramatic midnight raids. But make no mistake: This is a war movie; it’s just that the fight shown raging here is an internal one, between a Christian and his conscience. A refulgent return to form [...]

  • John Wick: Chapter 3

    Box Office: 'John Wick 3' Knocks Down 'Avengers: Endgame' With $57 Million Debut

    Earth’s Mightiest Heroes put up a good fight, but John Wick put at end to the three-week box office reign of “Avengers: Endgame.” Propelled by positive reviews, “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” beat expectations with a debut of $57 million from 3,850 North American locations. That was enough to nab the box office crown [...]

  • Game of Thrones Cast

    What's Next for 'Game of Thrones'' Cast Members

    Eight years and eight seasons later, the “Game of Thrones” cast finally has some downtime to relax or move onto other projects. Some stars, like Kit Harington, who told Variety that he doesn’t plan on taking another role as physically demanding as Jon Snow, certainly deserve a break, but others have wasted no time getting back on [...]

  • MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r)

    Submissions Now Welcome for Third 'Meet the Press' Film Festival

    Chuck Todd’s quest to bring “Meet the Press” to the movies continues. The third annual Meet the Press Film Festival, held in collaboration with the American Film Institute, will take place on October 6 and 7 in Washington, D.C., and remains a haven for issue-focused documentary shorts. Todd believes the event serves a critical mission: [...]

  • Challenges Still Keep Content From Traveling

    Cannes: Challenges Still Keep Content From Traveling to and From China

    Challenges still remain when it comes to buying, distributing and producing content that can travel between China and the West, attendees of a panel organized by the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival on the sidelines of Cannes said. Cai Gongming, president of Road Pictures, has hit box office gold in China with Cannes art-house titles such [...]

  • 180423_A24_Day_03B_0897.jpg

    Cannes Film Review: Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe in 'The Lighthouse'

    “The Lighthouse,” the second feature directed by Robert Eggers (“The Witch”), is a gripping and turbulent drama that draws on a number of influences, though it merges them into its own fluky gothic historical ominoso art-thriller thing. Set in the 1890s, and suffused with foghorns and epic gusts of wind, as well as a powerfully [...]

  • Cannes: Diao Yinan Explains His Artistic

    Diao Yinan on Cannes Pic 'Wild Goose Lake': 'I Try to Portray the Opposite of a Utopia'

    In competition in Cannes with “Wild Goose Lake,” director Diao Yinan explained Sunday why he’s fascinated by dark crime thrillers – and why his new film features dialogue in China’s Wuhan dialect. “Such thrillers are not only an exercise in style; they’re also full of dramatic tension, and when you combine style with dramatic tension, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content