Movie Review: Motorcycle Diaires
Alternate Title: Road Trip to a Revolution
Story: Viva la Revolucion! For those of you that remember the real Che (not the one on today's ubiquitous T-shirt) this film will be a nostalgia piece that will create an ache in your chest for what might have been had everything not gone so very wrong.
How does a revolutionary become a revolutionary? What triggers a person to become an activist rather than a spectator to the world's events? I remember Che Guevara and I supported his efforts. I also boycotted grapes, carried antiwar placards, marched, chanted, organized and generally was politically active. (I guess other than the grape thing you are probably wondering what has changed in Lobo's behavior in thirty years?)
Director Walter Sales (Central Station) has beautifully adapted (from a screenplay by Jose Rivera) books by both of the screen's central characters (Guevara's Motorcycle Diaries and Alberto Granado's Traveling with Che Guevara).
The entire film takes place in 1952 when 23 year old Ernesto (Che) Guevara and his 29 year old pal Alberto Granado embark on an 8,000 mile motorcycle journey through the spine and heart of South America. The adventure starts slowly and eventually leads our would-be revolutionary to see beyond the comforts of his upper middle class upbringing in Buenos Aires. He sees clearly the social injustice, the disease, the poverty and the inequity that the people of South America endure. You can see his transition occurring right up there on the big screen.
This is finally as road movie. It is a slow, luscious trip through the beautiful lands of the Americas. Take the trip!
If you are interested in reading more about Che Guevara try going to:
Acting: You can now add Gael Garcia Bernal to my very short list of favorite male actors. His honest portrayal and smoldering good looks caught me hook, line and sinker. I am a BIG fan! Rodrigo de la Serna was perfect as his sidekick (and the real life character still lives in Cuba and can be seen at the very end of the film).
Predilection: I like the actor Bernal and am interested in 'all things Che.' Steven Soderbergh is coming out with a film with Benicio del Toro as Che with a very different depiction, I am sure.
Critters: Lots of livestock and dogs.
Visual Art: The landscape was enough for me.
Opening Titles: Titles at the end (with some wonderful vintage photos of the real characters).
Sappy Factor: Che's saintly behavior could easily have been sappy with a different director - but thankfully, it was not.
Oscar Worthy: Yes - I see nominations coming their way.
Nit Picking: Not a nit in sight.
Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure. For some other films with Bernal try renting Y. Tu Mama, Tambien, Amoros Perros and the Crime of Father Amoro.
Length: A bit over two hours.
LOBO HOWLS: 9