Acting as a backstage to the worldwide phenomenon of Electronic Dance Music (EDM), We Are Your Friends is a tale of four friends struggling to breakout of the valleys and stake their claim to success.
Introduced through Zac Efron’s voice over, the scene sets the tone as we are exposed to the San Fernando Valley, and the group of friends trying to hustle their way out while banking on the DJ aspirations and hopeful success of the 23-year-old Cole (Efron). We are then treated to the observation that to be a DJ, “all you need is a laptop and one track”, and with this in play we get the foundation for the film as we follow Cole on his journey to find his own “organic” electrical sound.
The journey however does not start off glamorous as Cole’s friends bank on being small time club promoters while Cole DJ’s on the side for free. This is all until one fateful night where he meets James (Bentley) a damaged but charming DJ who eventually mentors him. Trying to make his one track that takes him to the famed levels of the Skrillexes and Calvin Harris’ of the world, Cole’s life is filled with a morally taxing real estate job, a lusting relationship over his mentor’s girlfriend and a heavy loss that leaves him broken. With this compilation of events, it sets the suspense in the lead up to his greatest opportunity. How Cole respond's to the situation will answer the question his friend asked with such conviction, “Will we ever be better than this”.
The highlight of the film is the mentor relationship of James and Cole. As James spirals down his path of drugs and alcohol, Cole falls for his mentor's girlfriend and personal assistant Sophie (Ratajkowski). Bentley performs as James with persuasion, he dramatically embodies the talent and tells the tale of burnt out success and resentment with honesty, however he never overplays any aspects. While Efron is naturally a charmer in previous films, his character in We Are Your Friends didn't allow for much charisma and he came off quite predictable.
It is in that key word predictable that is the downfall of the film. It won't have the hardcore EDM fans “raving”, but if you are a lover of electronic music there are plenty of cameos of DJ’s and Viner’s alike throughout the movie.
We Are Your Friends offers a glimpse into the creative process of a DJ, by using voice-over narrations and onscreen texts as it takes us on a voyage of self-belief and finding ones own beat in their journey of sound.
In cinemas now.