Review: Based on the best-selling memoir ‘The Naked Traveler’ (13 series, so far), Trinity, The Nekad Traveler is basically an almost plot-less re-enactment of how and why Trinity (the author) wrote her traveling journal. It is merely a hundred minutes of TraVlog, which surprisingly has enough drama to blur the main point of the book and enough travel quotes to pin in Pinterest.
Trinity, energetically portrayed by Maudy Ayunda, unravels her motivation of writing journals about traveling in her blog (and finally her books). Educated to be an independent girl since she was little, grown-up Trinity ends up being ‘the one with most stories during family gathering’ for her traveling hobby. Nowadays, she’s paid to travel and write, but then, she’s only an employee of a company led by Mrs. Boss (Ayu Dewi, practically steals the whole show) and she needs to get as many leaves as possible to travel. She has many dreams to travel to many places, therefore, she writes a bucket list. So, here’s an ‘inspiring’ story of how to escape life and travel more to tick off your bucket list.
Going from one place to another is exactly how The Nekad Traveler spends most of the duration. It’s basically an exhibition of idyllic places from all around Indonesia (and nearby countries) in 100 minutes. Trinity goes to Lampung, Sumatra, to preach a local boy that he’ll regret things he’s never done than things he’s done; there, she distances ‘tourist’ and ‘traveler’ –a big highlight of her whole tenure. Shortly after, she went to elephant conservation to meet another traveler, Paul (Hamish Daud), and brings up ‘universe conspiring theory.’ Then, she returns to her office asking for some extra leaves which leads to another trip to Makassar, Celebes. There’s another venture when Trinity and her BFFs travel to the Philippines in order to prove that she steers the entire itinerary. On another occasion, she is invited to go to the Maldives with all the expenses settled by mysterious Mr. X. Oddly enough, those trips are on her bucket list.
During the first two acts, The Nekad Traveler, despite being f–ed up in narrating the story, successfully delivers the traveling tips and motivation. Some romantic flavor is added to spice up here and there; however, it barely gives insight to the story or the character, instead, it feels superfluous, stale and forced. Then, there’s a reflection about being too self-centered and ambitious during the third act, but it gives no resolution about that at all. In the end, the whole film feels so apathetic.
Maudy Ayunda as Trinity obviously adds energy injection to the weak plot; but, same as her character, her performance is too dominating the hundred-minute journey. Hamish Daud, whom I thought, could’ve provided a deeper character catalyst to the main character, ends up being underused, but being eye-candy. Ayu Dewi, as Mrs. Boss, practically becomes the ultimate screen-stealer with all her puns and inexplicable behavior. In the end, it’s difficult to get invested in characters or plot.
Idyllic visuals from the traveling spots become the only thing that I’ve cared for; before finally, it gets tiring. Director Rizal Mantovani knows exactly how to craft beautiful ‘travel stock pictures’; he knows how to make those picture advertising ready. However, some technical glitch hinders the whole experience to reach its potential. Similar to some other Indonesian movies of the recent, The Nekad Traveler loves to use drone-camera to shoot aerial views; at some points, this method is able to beautifully capture the whole panorama, however, the outcome has never been good to get projected in the big screen. You can even know whether a scene is taken by ground camera or drone, simply because the outcome of the drone camera isn’t as sharp and solid as the ground camera. It’s definitely an honest mistake.
In the end, Trinity, The Nekad Traveler, despite looking fun – especially for those who love traveling, is never more than an unsympathetic, uninspiring, and preachy travel journal. It’s segmented to those who are prone to travel delusion.