Sunday, November 30, 2014

A-Z Movies, M: "The Motorcycle Diaries"

Recommended by:
Katherine (friend)

Movie Stats:
Released 2004 (USA)
Eight different countries, in Spanish with subtitles (some native languages, both translated and not)
Director - Walter Salles
Stars - Gael Garcia Bernal, Rodrigo De la Serna

Plot Summary:
An adaptation of the book of the same name, it tells the true story of two friends, Ernesto “Che” Guevara (Bernal) and Alberto Granado (De la Serna), who took a motorcycle trip across South America together.

Lots of blue language; implied sexy times.

Bad Stuff:
It’s pretty boring and slow. I spent the whole movie thinking to myself, “I bet the book is way better.”

I was congratulating the movie for subtly showing how transformative the trip was for Guevara and then it had to go and ruin it at the end by having him make a big speech about how transformative it was.

Good Stuff:
The cinematography is amazing.

I liked watching both young men grow up during the course of the trip. In the beginning, they’re boys, immature and naive. By the end, they’re men with a new sense of purpose and gravitas. It was sweet.

Bernal turned in a particularly fine performance. Watching his face as he cared for people who were sick (Guevara was a medical student one month shy of graduating when he went on the trip), I got pulled into the moment. I truly believed that he cared for those people. You can see the whole weight of everything Guevara has discovered come crashing down on him just by watching Bernal’s facial expressions.

The Verdict:
I would really like to say that I loved this movie but it wouldn’t be the truth. I didn’t hate it either, not by any stretch of the imagination, but something about it just didn’t speak to me. It didn’t quite connect. I enjoyed learning more about Che Guevara. To me, he’s one of those radicals that college kids latch onto because he espoused ideals that seem really romantic and righteous when you’re 18-22. I never knew much about him. I had no idea that he’d ever been a doctor, or that he became radicalized when his eyes were opened to the plight of the native peoples of South America. So the history was good, as was the acting and the scenery. And yet, I can’t imagine ever watching it again. I think it falls in the category of “watch (or read the book) once just so you understand that piece of human history a little better." 

I give it 3.5 stars.


Patricia said...

Hmmmm. I've only heard people rave about this, but have never actually watched it. I do like Bernal, though. Quite a lot.

This was one of those movies I brought home from the library meaning to watch, but never did. Matt did, though and he liked it a lot.

balyien said...

I think this is probably one of those "maybe it's me" movies. There's always got to be at least one that everyone else on the planet besides me seems to like.