Projections - Movie Reviews

The Motorcycle Diaries
The Motorcycle Diaries
Starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Rodrigo de la Serna, Mia Maestro,
Mercedes Moran, Jorge Chiarella, Gabriela Aguilera

An introspective, affecting road picture, The Motorcycle Diaries, never romanticizes one of the most lauded revolutionaries of the 20 th Century Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Guevara, of course, would become an ally to Castro’s overthrow of Batista’s Cuban regime.

Walter Salles’ expressive account of Che with Friend Alberto Granado provides much character depth and doesn’t drift into pretentiousness. Gael Garcia Bernal (Y Tu Mama Tambien) is quite good as the youthful, serious Ernesto and Rodrigo de la Serna is pragmatic and more easygoing as Alberto. The script from Jose Rivera draws from the writings of Guevara and Granado and rarely becomes episodic. The high point for many will be a grueling swim for Che to reach those separated by the hospital care they need.

The Beatnik period of the 60's is felt in South America in 1952 when Che and Alberto are medical students with a strong scientific background. These contrasting personalities will traverse South America in a lemon of a Norton 500 which they call “The Mighty One” going from Argentina to Peru to Chile through Venezuela and Columbia. They want to see the country they live in but hardly know and meet some girls, of course. A stop at a resort has Emesto hooking up with one (Mia Maestro).

This adventure on the open road will cross uncharted territory and the production features some gritty, documentary-type lesing by Eric Gauthier while the score has a native beat all its own. It’s a rite of passage, too, with soulful leanings into these longtime friends, as the plot is real and hints as to the kind of men both would become, especially Che who gains more insight into the working class.

Sales works diligently again with cast and crew as in some of his notable works like “Central Station.” The Motorcycle Diaries is a transforming picture that makes us believe in the journey and endeavors of two men who’s lives ride high on idealism and even beyond medicine as they reach a leper colony near the Amazon.

The Motorcycle Diaries

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