Categories Film Review

Perburan, Messy Storyline with Lame Characters

In the same month, in the same day to be exact, Falcon Pictures released 2 movies at once. Both are novel adaptation from the infamous Pramoedya Ananta Toer, one is Bumi Manusia and the other one is titled Perburuan.

Perburuan has a relatively short run length with around 1.5 hours and it tells a story about Hardo (Adipati Dolken), the military lieutenant of PETA (Pembela Tanah Air), who plans to do a revolt against Japanese occupation in Indonesia in 1945.

Due to many informations regarding the secret military movement in Indonesia, also information about Japan lose many battles around the world, Hardo plans to seize the Japanese military camp in Blitar, East Java. So Indonesia can declare its independence faster.

The revolt make Hardo has to leave all the people that he loves like his fiance and also his parents. On the day of the revolt, one of his subordinate betrays him and the plan is exposed to the Japanese army. Hardo’s troops are attacked during the move. Many of them fall and they have to run to the forest to hide themselves.

Soon after, the Japanese offer reconciliation to the rebel army. Some of them accept the offer and back to the military camp, and some of them try to survive with their own way. Hardo’s army leave him alone inside the cave. For several months, Hardo try to survive and refuse any help to go back to his hometown before Japan lose the war.

Perburan feels empty and messy. There is no empathy that the audience can feel from the characters, no motivation and reason for every action, and the story line feels like just a collection of scenes that show us what the characters are doing.

The movie gives no place for character motivation, we don’t know why a certain characters choose to do something. For example what is the reason and motivation for Dipo (Ernest Samudra) to leave Hardo alone in the cave, also why Hardo suddenly go back to town after few months when he doesn’t know is it safe or not. We don’t get their motivation for their action.

The main narration of Perburuan is about losing something important and losing the ones you love, how a human being can survive in the middle of desperation and uncertainties. Hardo is a character with a lot of deep thoughts, inner struggles, and also anxieties about his life. But we don’t feel that from the movie version of Hardo, he is lame and flat.

The rhythm of the story is also confusing and very raw. One of the most important moment in the movie, when Hardo hide himself, is not showing how he feels about his fate and condition, instead it is shown with unimportant flashback scenes like the condition of his parents, his memory with Ningsih (Ayushita), and suddenly 6 months has passed away.

The movie is just showing what happen during Hardo’s hiding, what are the other characters up to, no empathy and sympathy can be felt. That makes the movie feels empty. We can’t sympathize with Hardo, and we can’t also understand how he thinks. No emotion and no reasoning.

There is also a big holes with the research department. I don’t think Richard Oh as the director and Falcon Pictures did a deep research during the pre-production process. During the Japanese occupation, everything about western especially dutch teachings are prohibited, how can Ningsih talk about ‘emancipatie’? How can the PETA troopers wear high boots and has long hair when they are supposed to be neat?

The biggest failure is in the conclusion part, the ending. After a series of awkward hunting in the forest and river, the captured Hardo finally meet Ningsih but the meeting feels empty and flat without emotion. The independence announcement also doesn’t feel glorious, it’s more like a village carnival.

Perburuan, the adaptation movie from a novel with the same name, is a emotionless movie with messy story line. Nothing can be felt from 1.5 hours, the dialogue is stiff and rigid wrapped with poster-boy-heroism feeling instead of personal approach that make audiences sympathize with the characters.


Our Score (4.5/10)


Title                       : Perburuan
Production            : Falcon Pictures
Director                : Richard Oh
Original Story      : Novel (Written by Pramoedya Ananta Toer)
Screenwriting      : Richard Oh and Husein M. Atmodjo
Casts                     : Adipati Dolken, Ayushita, Ernest Samudra, Khiva Iskak, Michael Kho





Putu Radar Bahurekso
t : @puturadar | ig : putu.radar


Written By


Demon Lord (Editor-in-Chief) of Monster Journal.
Film critics, and pop-culture columnist.
A bachelor in International Relations, and Master's in Public Policy.
Working as a Consultant for Communications and Public Affairs.


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7 months ago

Thank you very much for sharing, I learned a lot from your article. Very cool. Thanks. nimabi

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