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Overall Rating

Awesome: 34.57%
Worth A Look43.21%
Average: 17.28%
Pretty Bad: 1.23%
Total Crap: 3.7%

6 reviews, 45 user ratings

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Motorcycle Diaries, The
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by Dr Nick

"A stunning road movie with a social conscience"
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2004: Walter Salles' adaptation of Ernesto "Che" Guevara's book by the same name is an extremely enjoyable experience. Travelling across the South American continent on a crappy motorcycle, we follow young Guevara and his best friend Alberto Granado as they set out to explore their own and neighbouring countries. Beautifully shot with great performances throughout, the film provides a subtle insight into the development of a revolutionary mind.

Ernesto Guevara is a young medical student, who with only a semester to graduation, decides to go travelling across South America with his best friend Alberto Granado, a biochemist. What starts off as a simple journey across the continent soon becomes something much more important, a journey of self-discovery which will shape their values and ideas for the rest of their lives.

Straight from the start we know that this is not going to be about Che Guevara, the revolutionary leader. This is about a young man trying to find himself and what he wants from life. Ernesto is portrayed as just any young man, unsure of what he wants to do with his life. In love with his girlfriend, he is growing increasingly frustrated over the fact that she won't sleep with him. This is especially hard to handle, when his friend seems to bed very woman they meet on their journey. In a small Chilean town, a drunken Guevara is propositioned by a married woman. But, before anything can happen, they are spotted by her husband and Ernesto and Alberto are subsequently chased out of the town. After endless crashes, their motorcycle finally can't take it anymore and they are forced to continue their journey on foot, hitching rides whenever possible.

Early on the journey we notice Ernesto's fascination with ordinary people and his dislike and growing concern about social injustice. Late one night, they meet a young communist couple, on their way to work in a mine. This is Ernesto's first encounter with communism and the couple leave a lasting impact on him. His feelings of compassion for his fellow man reach their peak when they arrive at their final destination, an isolated medical colony, treating people suffering from leprosy. Even here the patients are treated with disrespect and Ernesto immediately refuses to follow the rules, which have been set-up by the nuns in the colony. As leprosy is non-contagious, he refuses to wear plastic gloves when dealing with patients. It's a seemingly small protest, but one that is greatly appreciated by the patients and he soon becomes the most popular staff member.

The film is beautifully shot, showing the grandeur of the South American landscape in splendid detail. The performances are great throughout the film, both from Gael Garcia Bernal as Ernesto and Rodrigo De La Serna as Alberto Granado, who compliment each other perfectly. It may not be action packed, and the pace is at times almost too slow, but it's a rewarding experience nonetheless. It's a fascinating story about how a young man in medical school began his journey to becoming one of the most iconic figures of the 20th Century.

Fascinating and beautiful, you don't need an interest in politics to enjoy this. A truly inspiring film about the making of a legend.

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originally posted: 08/19/04 00:17:36
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Vancouver Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Toronto Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

8/02/10 chris. I wonder...who is it that is innocent of murder? 5 stars
1/23/10 plgrm It'd be nice if Hollywood, instead of indulging in self-serving mythmaking, 2 stars
11/13/07 ercadel getereralge 4 stars
4/29/07 Christine Good story, very complex ,and makes you think. 5 stars
1/03/07 Charles Tatum Inspiring as in "I want to overthrow the govt and kill people"? 3 stars
9/29/06 Jin inspiring and very unique 5 stars
8/29/06 Jake An entertaining movie about a communist 4 stars
5/24/06 Bert Best movie ever, best story ever told! 5 stars
11/22/05 Kurtis J. Beard Poetic film. Visually stunning. Great acting. 4 stars
11/04/05 Bad Critic A very good movie. Strong performances and a great plot. 4 stars
11/03/05 Madd Mooper A solid enough film, enjoyable on a certain level although don't look for greatness 4 stars
8/30/05 Nick Kraemer great imagery. great story. doesn't get caught up in politics 5 stars
7/13/05 the grinch the "legend" was a murderer,READ and find out who this guy really was,movie sucked too 1 stars
6/10/05 Simon Solid. Its focus seems misguided due to some faulty filmmaking at times, but overall good. 4 stars
5/09/05 Alex Amazing performances, great movie!!. A life changing experience, South America's reality 5 stars
3/29/05 Phil M. Aficionado Visually stunning, but left me with a "where's the beef" reaction 3 stars
3/29/05 JoannaVan Langen LOVED it! LOved it!! Loved it!!! 5 stars
2/18/05 dian anderson GREAT MOVIE 5 stars
1/30/05 Carrie Hubbard All I could say for this movie was, Huh? 1 stars
12/30/04 y2mckay Solid film and top performances, De La Serna steals movie 4 stars
12/24/04 green gremlin All those multinational corporations ceo's deserve to be locked up in a filthy leper colony 5 stars
12/19/04 Landshark But for our own biases going in, we'd probably call "Diaries" a lesson in values 5 stars
12/13/04 Gary Coulter Fantastic insight into the man, as opposed to the legend. 5 stars
12/07/04 Elisa Excellent 5 stars
11/29/04 Peteco Very good. 4 stars
11/25/04 drfardook Visually excellent. Performances good. Editing needs a little tweak. 4 stars
11/05/04 your worst goddamn nightmare Very Very good film. The latter part was a little too overdrawn tho... 4 stars
11/03/04 Hillary Roth powerful 5 stars
10/28/04 Dennis Nice movie, but probably better if you have an interest in south america 4 stars
10/28/04 Maria Captures the moment beautifully 5 stars
10/24/04 Suzz excellent film/great performances all around 5 stars
10/20/04 Jenna very cool movie 5 stars
10/19/04 Betsy beautiful translation of a truly inspiring book 5 stars
10/19/04 Dave See it's Karma, leave your Dogma in the lobby. 5 stars
10/19/04 Helga Fellay excellent 5 stars
10/18/04 Judith Levitt Wonderful, informative as well as beautifullly done 5 stars
10/17/04 Stevo This movie is powerfully written and beautifully acted. 5 stars
10/10/04 Kay Sarich I thought the film was excellent, it really made me want to do good in the world. 5 stars
10/07/04 Ted C An awesome inspiring delightful visual feast for the eyes 5 stars
9/29/04 Betsy Brain-dead salute to a thug and terrioist - Redford is deep in the loony left 1 stars
9/15/04 jim great 5 stars
8/15/04 Christine Todd Inspiring and real 5 stars
5/11/04 Marina Veiga beautiful and very funny 5 stars
3/12/04 Roberto De La Serna Awesome says it all 5 stars
2/08/04 Sophie Great film. Almost historically accurate 5 stars
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  24-Sep-2004 (R)
  DVD: 15-Feb-2005



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