Merantau DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 7.5
Video 8.5
Audio 8.5
Special Features 8.0
Audio 8.0
Distributor: Madman
Running Time: 108
Classification:
 MA15+
Reviewer: Simon Black

8.0


Merantau

Yuda (newcomer Iko Uwais), a skilled practitioner of the Indonesian martial art of Silat, is preparing to undertake the rite of merantau, an ancient custom whereby rural peasants make the pilgrimage to the bustling metropolis of Jakarta in order to garner the skills and experiences that will allow them to make a meaningful contribution to village life. 

Upon arrival in the big smoke, Yuda realises he’s in way over his head.  First of all his intended accommodation doesn’t actually materialise, and he is forced to spend his nights squatting on a building site.  The next day his wallet is stolen by a young pickpocket.  Chasing the thief through a warren of alleyways, Yuda stumbled across teenage stripper Astri (divine debutante Sisca Jessica) being robbed and accosted by her boss.  Yuda promptly and honourably puts the hurtin’ on the scoundrel, and in the days that follow uncovers a sordid people smuggling ring operated by a Dutch crime lord (Mads Koudal) and his cronies.  They want Astri, and Yuda must go to increasingly desperate lengths to protect her. 

Reportedly the first Indonesian martial arts film in 15 years and the first to feature the art of Silat, Merantau is a remarkable sophomore outing for Welsh director Gareth Evans.  Uwais, who despite his tender age is a 15-year veteran of Silat, brings a vulnerability to his role as leading man, and the remarkably talented Sisca Jessica lends an adroit counterweight as the brash, beautiful Astri.  Its weighty themes of displacement and the loss of personal identity are intelligently executed, and the fight sequences are realistic, intense and expertly staged.  For a neophyte Uwais also has the requisite presence to pull off such a role, and is definitely a future martial arts star in the making. 

Merantau is truly captivating.  Its denouement is almost singularly melodramatic, but the journey is so thrilling and so enjoyable that by that point you’re willing to forgive the lapse into the lachrymal, and overall the film is a markedly effective showcase for the Silat form with a well-developed heartfelt undercurrent - the perfect blend between action and emotionality. 

Audio & Video

Nothing to fault in this regard.  The 16:9 anamorphic widescreen transfer is sharp and the cinematography lush.  The film also performs well on the audio front, with the Indonesian 5.1 soundtrack coming across as balanced and resonant.  The soundtrack itself is also an impressive affair, comprising a frenetic blend of Orientalism and electronica that augments the many action sequences and mirrors the contrasts of Yuda’s journey from country to city. 

Special Features

Making Of Merantau (15:11)

Two Deleted Scenes

Featurettes: The Beginning (5:04), The Choreography (5:07), The Test (5:50), The Cast and Press Conference (5:18), The 56 Takes (5:06), Bekasi (5:13), Bukkit Tinggi (6:03), Streets & Alleyways (6:03), Studios & The Recruitment Centre (5:47), Rumah Susun (4:28)

Theatrical Trailer

Eastern Eye Trailers






 
 



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