“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” ~ William Shakespeare
Max Joseph’s We Are Your Friends is certainly not a tale told by an idiot, but of an idiot ‘full of sound and fury’. The ‘idiot’, Cole (Zac Efron), is an aspiring DJ on the Los Angeles club scene searching for the perfect track while hanging out with his childhood friends, Mason (Jonny Weston), Ollie (Shiloh Fernandez) and Squirrel (Alex Shaffer). Cole meets popular DJ James (Wes Bentley) who takes him under his wing while James’ assistant, Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski) takes a liking to Cole.
The screenplay by Joseph and Meaghan Oppenheimer (story by Richard Silverman) acts as if it were told as a stage play. Each character has a specific function and all are highly dynamic and engaging. Mason’s character seemed disingenuous, but his punkish nature balances out Cole’s soulfulness.
The flow of the story is aided by Terel Gibson’s tight editing while Brett Pawlak’s cinematography captures the dynamic Southern California lifestyle and the rave parties while capturing the down and out nature of life in the San Fernando Valley.
True to the nature of the movie, the pop music tracks take center stage. Robert Eber’s sound mix is stellar, making grand use of the low frequency effects (bass) channels in addition to the surround channels.
“Are we better than this?!” shouts Cole. Friends has the power to be this generation’s anthem. Because this tale is told by an ‘idiot,’ the message will get lost among the sound and fury. In twenty years’ time, teenagers of today will look back on this movie and realize the message. It is because of the power of this message that the movie is recommended.