Jamojaya Review: Rapper Rich Bryan Overcomes the Dangers of a Pop Star


Like rapper Rich Brian, Brian Imanuel has already become a star in his native Indonesia and a recognizable face in US hip-hop. But in his first feature film, he plays a newcomer. His acting debut, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this week, is a fresh look at the pitfalls of early fame.

Imanuel plays aspiring rapper James, who fired his father Joyo as a manager on an Indonesian TV show, and his record company takes him to a luxurious seaside house in Hawaii to help him clear his head while recording his first album. Joyo, who was heartbreakingly played by the legend of Indonesian cinema Yayu Unru, still appears in Hawaii, just at the moment when James meets with the bosses of the label in a posh restaurant. His tough American manager Shannon (Kate Lin Sheil, She’s going to die tomorrow) treats him with disdain, and we soon find out that Joyo, whom James finds embarrassing by cleaning up spilled drinks and acting as a waiter, is perhaps the only person who genuinely cares about him. for him.

Jamojay’s focus on the behind-the-scenes life of a star shooting videos, recording in the studio and holding meetings as he tries to balance the trappings of success with his father’s mundane, homely advice is interesting. Part of Joyo’s devotion to James stems from the loss of his other son, who died in the Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane crash. Often parents over—compensate for the loss of a child by paying all their attention to the remaining child – and who can blame them after such devastation?

Despite Joyo’s eccentricity— firstly, he always seems to have a bag of fresh, self-picked fruit—he asks fair questions about who pays for the huge, luxurious house they live in, and if he is suspicious of the record. The label bosses, they are well-founded: James’ producer Vic (a friend of Joyo’s) is fired against his will, and James eventually relinquishes his publishing rights after Joyo pushes the unreliable CEO Michael into the pool.

Jamojay has some great performances, especially Unruh, Imanuel and Sheil are good, and even Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis turned out to be in good shape as a mean music video director. But authenticity and screen presence can only help you. The film directed and co-written by Justin Chon does not say anything new here, just presents it a little abstractly with brief memories (and flash forwards) along with unusual Joyo rituals based on trees and plants.

From “A Star is Born” to Vox Lux and even the movie “Taurus” with Machine Gun Kelly, the dangers of pop stars have often been used as a source of entertainment on the big screen. Obviously there is an appetite for this kind of story. Just don’t expect your brain to explode.


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