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We Are Your Friends - Film Review

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by Mieka Black (subscribe)
I'm a writer/blogger living in Adelaide, check my blog out at
Published September 1st 2015
Don't sleep with your mentors girl

Electronic Dance Music, it's a genre that has been around for quite some time but even if you're not a big EDM fan, chances are you've still heard of the likes of David Guetta, Clavin Harris and maybe even Nicky Romero, Dillon Francis and Alesso – all who make minor appearances in the film.

'We Are Your Friends' has a beat, yet it seems that not many are dancing to it. Let me try to paint you a picture of this film, given that the sound hasn't got the heart rate up to 128bmp. Played by Hollywood's teen heartthrob Zac Efron, the film follows a young San Fernando Valley wannabe DJ named Cole. For those of you who aren't aware of California locales, San Fernando is on the other side of the Hollywood sign – away from the glitz and glamour. Now Cole (Zac Efron) and his best mates Ollie (Shiloh Fernandez), Mason (Jonny Weston) and Squirrel (Alex Shaffer) are all born and bred Valley kids. They've lived the 'normal' life, they've got the shitty job and now, more than ever they want out. That's where the audience comes in, as the boys promote an L.A club and in return get measly amounts for their strenuous efforts, or in Cole's case, DJ'ing, and not getting paid.

Within our first party scene we are introduced to James Reed (Wes Bentley) a world-famous DJ who kind of resembles Wolverine more than Hugh Jackman, but that may just be the constant state of intoxication and smell of alcohol. Wes' character is the cautionary tale of what happens AFTER your hit the big time. He's cynical, arrogant and getting less and less creative the further he delves into the whiskey bottle. That said, like any kid who's still admiring instead of being – Cole looks up to him.

As I say that though we do have the crucial scene within this L.A party where Cole meets our female protagonist, Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski). It's your typical romantic sticky club floor moment in which they lock eyes and you know the hormones are raging. It's in this moment that we see that Cole isn't Zac's usual charismatic heart throb; he looks awkward, he sounds awkward and he outright puts his foot in it when saying that James Reed is washed up. I will reassure you that these scenes are far and few between.

From there it's obvious that complications are going to ensue. We have adultery – because let's fulfill the stereotype that DJ's get the ladies. From adultery we have betrayal and that's not even the start of it. We watch as Cole's hopes are higher than ever, he gets his big breakout chance and it's snatched away from him. We see his heart broken over an unexpected and yet not very surprising twist and we watch as he climbs his way back up, finally attuning himself to the sounds around him rather than the sounds of his laptop. This is all done in an attempt to tie in the big finale and show how much Cole has grown.

In 'We Are Your Friends' all the depth is not in the music. It has some real depth, it has some pretty good one-liners to pass on, it even pulls at the heart strings but what this movie lacks is the ability to do that with its music. This is a movie about EDM – Electronic Dance Music, that is the core of this film or at least it's supposed to be. Yet, it does little to even scratch the surface on any real type of music production. To be a star all you need is some talent and a laptop? – No, wrong. You need tireless effort and reworking, you need to be pulling your hair out as you try to get it just right. There isn't a creative field in the world that looks as 'fun' as this movie makes it seem. However, that is Hollywood for you. We go to a movie to see life in a new way, a prettier way. We Are Your Friends delivers that. It gives you a story, it gives you some beats.

So I say to anyone who has heard the negativity thrown at this film, why not try dancing to a beat that isn't pounding down on someone's creativity. Go see this movie but see it for what it is, a film. 'We Are Your Friends' isn't an EDM documentary, it's not going to show you the realness to it because realistically music production is a lot of hard work and not a roller-coaster of fun.

We Are Your Friends' is a good movie, I highly recommend it, but maybe you should take a page out of Cole's book and take off the headphones, step away from the laptop and hear your own sounds, make your own mind up. Then, you won't be disappointed.

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*Mieka Black was invited as a guest
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Why? To get out of your head and into your body
When: 28th August
Where: Selected Cinemas
Cost: Varies
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