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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 EricDSnider

"Wow, Che Guevara was HOT!"
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2004 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: It is a rare biopic that does not venerate its subject beyond all reason, and "The Motorcycle Diaries" is a rare film. It gives us Ernesto "Che" Guevara, the Argentinian revolutionary, in all his youthful, mercurial glory. It suggests a Che who began as a slightly selfish, somewhat irresponsible man who gradually grew into the figure known to history. It doesn't assume we will be interested in Che just because it tells us to; it gives us a story worth being interested in.

Played by Gael Garcia Bernal, Che is depicted here with his buddy Alberto Granado (Rodrigo de la Serna), who traveled via motorcycle with him through South America in 1952, when both were medical students. They predate the Beatniks just a bit, but their idea is essentially the same: see the world, have some fun, meet some girls. They have little money or food, and their motorcycle (nicknamed "The Mighty One") would charitably be called unreliable. It will be an adventure, to be sure.

The first act of the film is mostly light-hearted and even wacky, as they encounter the expected mechanical problems, misunderstandings with locals and whatnot. Granado wants to have a good time, as does Che, but Che has a sensitive soul, a gentleness that probably had his professors convinced he would make a fine doctor someday. Gradually, Che and Alberto grow up, and as they tour the continent, Che becomes aware of the plight of the working class.

Bernal and de la Serna's performances are strong, and their chemistry together as friends enhances the many scenes that consist primarily of just the two of them. Josť Rivera's script, if a little episodic, nicely builds each man's character development, and Walter Salles' direction, if a little too reliant on obvious symbolism (like Che swimming across a river from boyhood to manhood on his birthday), is nonetheless sure-footed and capable. His noble endeavor to show a revolutionary's evolution pays off nicely.

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originally posted: 01/25/04 18:36:22
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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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