Film Review: 'The beat'
Film Review: 'The beat'

Film Review: ‘The beat’

“The most interesting thing about a heart is that the human heart can beat even after it has been removed from the body.” – dr. Teak.

After the film ‘Tarian Lengger Maut’ was released in all Indonesian cinemas on May 13, 2021 while celebrating Eid al-Fitr, now, the director’s cut version entitled ‘Detak’ can be enjoyed on the Online Cinema service.

In addition to the title change, the striking difference between the two is in the increased duration of about 30 minutes. With the addition of several selected scenes from the director, Yongki Ongestu, of course ‘Detak’ is expected to be able to resolve the dissatisfaction of the audience, most of whom felt that the previous version, which lasted 70 minutes, was too short for the size of a widescreen film.

© Visinema Pictures
‘Detak’ tells the story of the appearance of a doctor named Jati (Refal Hady) in Pager Alas Village which causes the mysterious disappearance of several local residents. As it turned out, the doctor had an obsession with the human heartbeat to the point of resorting to surgery on some of his patients, then collecting their hearts.

The appearance of the doctor also coincided with the immediate appointment of a village flower named Sukma (Della Dartyan) as a Lengger dancer. In some of his dance performances, dr. Jati who attended the event felt her heart beat faster. From there, the mystery of the disappearance of the villagers and the conundrum of dr. Jati and Sukma are the conflict paths that the film goes through to arrive at a resolution.

Discussing the interesting side of ‘Detak’, the introduction of one of the cultures from Banyumas, namely the Lengger dance, is the main attraction that makes this film more interesting to the curiosity of the prospective audience. Moreover, considering that the Lengger dance is difficult to separate from the myth about indang or the spirit that possesses the dancers.

© Visinema Pictures
When the spirit manages to enter the body, the dancers can appear more energetic, draw attention, and perform actions that are not necessarily capable of being performed without dancing, even by ordinary people. In addition, the presence of Lengger dancers in a village is also considered a symbol of fertility and a form of protection.

The cultural execution that is lifted and wrapped into this film is very convincing. ‘Detak’ highlights the Lengger dance and plays its accompaniment in a gamelan musical instrument playing along with songs amidst the rich picture of Banyumas culture.

The characterization of several supporting players who still believe in “myths” to dialogue in the Banyumasan dialect or Ngapak language completes the setting in this film, especially since the shooting process is indeed carried out under the foot of Mount Slamet.

Even so, the weak side of the film actually appears because the element of one cultural setting actually appears without being really connected to the overall storyline. The role of the Lengger dancer who is trusted by the local community in protecting his village is not executed in more detail.

© Visinema Pictures
The figure of Sukma is not given a stage to show his role as a Lengger dancer who is a symbol of protection, as believed by the local community based on Javanese mythology and culture. In other words, the cultural element only acts as a “decorative” element.

It doesn’t stop there, the thriller genre carried by this film is unfortunate to trigger the next weak side. Instead of feeling given the space to guess the real killer or waiting for a plot twist that ends the film, the audience is shown who the killer is from the beginning of the film. Then, the way of killing is also limited to focusing on highlighting the expressions of the players, whether they are those who act as victims or perpetrators.

Luckily, the use of scoring elements that sound natural and precise in every detail of the movement of the surgical scene to take a human heart is able to build a tense atmosphere that is conveyed well to the audience so that it can also trigger a sense of horror and discomfort.

This one advantage should be appreciated because without showing a lot of blood or knife cuts on the bodies of the victims, the film ‘Detak’ is able to present a terrible atmosphere. However, such an atmosphere only lasts for one to two early scenes, the rest, the method used by dr. Teak in searching for victims, then dissecting their bodies, looks monotonous so that the intensity of the horrors decreases.

© Visinema Pictures
From these weaknesses, it can be said that the main problem faced by the film ‘Detak’ is in the script which is still too raw with a synopsis that seems to be exaggerated to create an image of the connection between the cold-blooded killer and the Lengger dance. . In fact, in its execution, several questions arise that make this film fall into a plot hole.

The absence of an effort to find the villagers who mysteriously disappeared is the part that most clearly shows that this film is forcing itself to create horror by protecting the cold-blooded killer so that he can continue to carry out the action of harvesting the hearts of his victims on screen.

Not to mention, the character of dr. Teak is not explored optimally so that its potential in perfecting the narrative is weak. The audience was not given the opportunity to know the origin of his obsession with heartbeats because of the lack of and inconsistency in depicting the background of the trauma he experienced.

But at least, the director’s cut version which carries the title ‘Detak’ feels more acceptable than the previous title, ‘Tarian Lengger Maut’. The main reason, of course, is that the Lengger dance and dancers in this film don’t get room to deal with “death” which is the main conflict.

© Visinema Pictures The
savior of the film ‘Detak’ so that it can still be enjoyed is a fascinating technical game. Apart from scoring, the cinematographic elements should also be highly appreciated. The three details of camera shots, from close shots, mid shots, to close up shots, appear accurately in showing the background, situation, and facial expressions of the actors throughout their duration.

In addition, there is a spotlight on the symbolic psychological movements of the character, dr. Teak, although it must be admitted, the trick is not enough to save a weak narrative. No less amazing, the lighting techniques and color grading or color manipulation in ‘Detak’ succeeded in directing the emotions of the audience to enter into the plot, atmosphere, and characterization of the characters.

There are times when the screen becomes completely gloomy with the dominance of blue and green colors, then when the conflict moves to the climax, the screen turns red as if controlling the emotions of the audience to be swept away into an atmosphere that is lit with passion, anger, and strength.

The role play of the two main characters also deserves appreciation. Refal Hady really animates his character as dr. Jati, the cold-blooded killer who looks perfect in the eyes of the villagers. The look in his eyes, the way he talks, even the expression filled with anxiety and obsession is impressive every time his face graces the screen.

© Visinema Pictures
Likewise with Della Dartyan as Sukma the dancer from Lengger Desa Pager Alas, his graceful movements seem very convincing as a dancer. Sukma, who is described as shy, can look like other people when dancing as the people of Banyumas believe that Lengger dancers have indang when dancing. The supporting cast also performed solidly and perfected the impressive acting quality.

From all the considerations above, it can be said that the film ‘Detak’ is indeed superior in terms of visualization, whether it’s how to shoot detailed scenes, the use of psychology of color, to the role play of the actors and actresses in it. The presence of an additional duration of about 30 minutes spoils the eyes and hypnotizes the audience to be carried away into the story.

Even so, the impressive external appearance has not been able to complete the gaps in the narrative that was felt when watching the first film. The film ‘Detak’ only appears more organized in terms of appearance, but does not address the relationship between serial killers and the Lengger dance.


Director: Yongki Ongestu

Cast: Refal Hady, Della Dartyan, Alyssa Abidin, Bintang Satria, Hendra Prasetyo, Hetty Reksoprodjo

Duration: 103 minutes

Score: 6.6/10


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