Struggling for Independence
The Indonesian struggle for independence continues in “Hati Merdeka” (“Hearts of Freedom”), the third installment in the Merdeka (Freedom) film trilogy. Just like the first movie in the trilogy, “Merah Putih” (“Red and White”) and its sequel, “Darah Garuda” (“Blood of the Eagle”), “Hati Merdeka” is a Hollywood-style action movie take on Indonesia’s colorful history, replete with gunfights, explosions and a strong dose of nationalism.
The series follows a diverse group of soldiers hailing from different islands throughout the archipelago — Amir (Lukman Sardi), a Javanese Muslim teacher; Thomas (Donny Alamsyah), a Christian farmer from North Sulawesi; Marius (Darius Sinathrya) the son of a wealthy, pro-Dutch family; and Dayan (Rifnu Wikana), a mute cadet from Bali.
Set in 1948, the film begins with an attack by our four heroes on a Dutch compound. It is three years after President Sukarno declared Indonesia’s independence, but the nascent Indonesian Republic’s forces are still fighting to gain military control of the country. The attack does not go well and the team loses one of its members. This puts a lot pressure on the group, especially for Captain Amir, who had to leave his man behind.
Other than fighting for freedom, the team members also have their own personal struggles. Amir is torn between his desire to fight for the nation and the need to stay with his expectant wife, who is nearing her due date. Marius is haunted by his conflicts with his parents.