We Are Your Friends (2015) Review

director: Max Joseph

writers: Max Joseph & Meaghan Oppenheimer

starring: Zac Efron, Wes Bentley, Emily Ratajkowski and Jon Bernthal

genre: Drama | Music | Romance

released: August 27, 2015 (Germany), August 28, 2015 (U.S.), September 3, 2015 (Greece)

“Are we ever going to be better than this?". There is so much that can be said about this one line in the film, that it seems preposterous that it wasn't the film's main title. As if it was, it would show a honest face to cinema goers about its story of a reckless youth finding his way up in the world. Instead, the film chose to sell itself to young moviegoers as the hip and trendy film that wants to be your friend and get on your good side. It turned out to be shallow tactic. As it ends up, no one saw the film or knows it probably exists.


Through a chance meeting, Cole (Zac Efron) gets to develop a friendship with an extremely well known and jaded DJ named James (Wes Bentley). James sees something in Cole and try's to help him out by making him his apprentice. With this opportunity of fame and success, Cole has a lot to gain from it by moving up in the world, while also a whole lot to lose that he has yet to realize.


Their are a number of moments in the film that are quite creative, with its handling of certain of the dramatic scenes being adequate and its arc of the main character being more than just satisfying. It still though wasn't enough to get people to admire what little it had to offer, but more than that. Its biggest failure was its inability at getting an audience to actually see it.

Where many of these issues arise, is when it tries to overstep its boundaries and tries to touch on too many subjects at once. Attempting during the larger part of the film to be about the dance music scene, while also trying to emphasize on how young adults run amok guidless and then suddenly getting raw with how the real world works and the injustices around us. Such as real estate fraud in foreclosed America and substance abuse of all things.

Instead of going mainly with what did work. Which in my opinion is the main character relationship between Cole and James and their mentor-protege dynamic. Working well not only due to the talent of both actors, but also from the things they learn from each other within the film (friendship, workmanship and art). It also makes sense in the reality they both are in, for Cole not to have the right inspiration/avenue to get to the top and James who has reached his peak and doesn't know what else to do with all his knowledge, wealth and free time. Also, while the romantic subplot in the film makes sense in the way that the particular situation could happen in real life. It does feel cliched and put there in order for their to be a confrontation between the two main male characters and for the film to have some significant eye candy.

Moreover, for someone who does enjoy his fair share of electronic music, but who has no real inside knowledge of it. I was incredibly interested and amused by the musical elements fleshed out in the film. From the tidbit about one person on the dance floor that can change it all, to the wiki knowledge of the genre and as well the end dance scene of the film. Which is a fitting emotional climax for the film and also for the character of Cole.

More than anything else, what the film dealt with in a quite worse manner, was with a couple of elements concerning Cole's personal life and best friends. One of which is his interactions with them, that lacked the rawness that such scenes needed and the change of direction in his life. From the group to the mentor-protege dynamic he might have always wanted. While additionally, a very specific and repetitive shot of Cole stashing away his money throughout the story. That only would make you think that there was some importance to this action, alas that road was never taken and only made those repetitive shots redundant.

Then there is Zac Efron, who I am becoming a true believer in his ability to capture an audiences attention on screen, with his charisma and presence. I know I'm probably one of the few to have this belief. But, objectively the man has grown into the actor that no one had thought would make it. Precisely because of his teenage days in "High School Musical". Now, he has already proved himself countless of times, with diversifying himself enough in various genres, while also able to hold his own amongst some of cinemas greatest stars and to be one of the reasons why a film is good or not. Though, with this film it may be high time for him to move further down the road dramatically. Because if he gets too lost in the system, he will be forgotten of and he is one of those actors that I believe their can be more to come.


"We Are Your Friends" may have wanted to be a little too hip like the film "Go" and it does have a similar artist rise to fame story such as "8 Mile". But, it still can hold its own with its great performances, sense of pace, unexpected creative ideas, while also a beat that wont quit.

Personal Rating:

review by Paul Katsaros

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