FANTASTIC FEST: Preman (2021)

After young Pandu witnesses the murder of an old man who refuses to leave his property and hurts local gangster boss Guru, he must turn to his deaf father Sandi. The trouble is that his father is also a gangster and if he turns against his crime family, he may as well just kill himself. But that’s what happens and Guru sends all of his men after boh Pandu and Sandi, who must face their reprisal face-to-face.

Writer and director Randolph Zaini started his storytelling life by acting out stories for his younger siblings with G.I. Joe figures, then years later came to America for school. That childlike beginning plays out here, as Sandi sees his depressive state as a series of anthropomorphic foxes and a blue bunny which symbolizes one of the first violent acts of his life, being forced to punch a friend in the face to prove that he wasn’t gay.

Today, he struggles to keep violence out of his son’s life, yet his very career is in ousting people from their homes so that real estate companies can take over. His entire worldview is even further skewed because Guru is at once the leader of the criminals and a cop, so any hope of the police helping him in his battle against the gang and the hired killer Butcher doesn’t exist.

Whlle this is an action film, it’s primarily about the relationship between father and son, as well as the hopes for something better for your child. If not for Pandu’s action, Sandi may have stayed under the cruel thumb of Guru for life.

Preman is playing Fantastic Fest. When it starts streaming, we’ll update this article.

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