Enjoyable film which takes place in South America and which is based on the real life events - and an amazing adventure of two young men riding a motorbike through this most beautiful continent - and that eventually changed the young and talented medical student from Buenos Aires Ernesto Guevara to a communist armed radical revolutionary.
Whilst I enjoy a good blockbuster film, it's great to see intelligent and thoughtful films beginning to be issued on Blu-ray. This is a film that really draws me in and holds my attention throughout - I soon forget that I'm reading subtitles as the film gets under way. Reviewers of the DVD have expressed well the film's great qualities - I shall therefore comment on the Blu-ray presentation. The film does look slightly grainy, but it obviously didn't have the huge budget of a glossy Hollywood production so that's not surprising - and somehow it adds to its charm. Otherwise the transfer is fine and with the enhanced detail over the DVD, it looks great on a big screen. I haven't watched the extras yet, but there's over an hour of them (in SD). Well worth the extra cost for the Blu-ray version.
This movie tells us the story of two young men, and the adventure that would change the way they saw the world. The travellers, medical student Ernesto Guevara and biochemist Alberto Granado, decide to start a journey across South America. In January 1952 they begin their quest in an old motorcycle, without too much money but eager to visit new countries in order to learn more about South America and its inhabitants. As minutes go by, you will start to feel part of their journey, and absorb the different scenes, events and people that end up making an indelible impression on them. Gael García Bernal plays a believable Ernesto Guevara, the person that would later be known as "Che". Rodrigo de la Serna is just as convincing as Alberto Granado, and he makes us laugh from time to time with his antics. However, the main characters aren't them, but the people they encounter in their travels, and that add up to represent people of all South America who suffered from differents kinds of injustice. We aren't shown the people that were well-off, although we get a glimpse of their lives when Ernesto visits his girlfriend before he starts his journey. Rather, we are faced with the problems of those who lived in less fortunate circumstances, for example aborigines that had been expelled of their lands, or poor people that couldn't find a job and had to travel looking for one. The spectator is also shown people who helped those in need, for example in the hospital for leprosy patients that Ernesto and Alberto visited with the purpose of learning more about the disease... "The Motorcycle Diaries" is based on the two books that Guevara and Granados wrote about their travel: "The Motorcycle Diaries" by Guevara and "With Che Through Latin America" by Alberto Granado. It is highly likely that those books helped Brazilian director Walter Salles to make a film that sounds so true, but he obviously also contributed, and a lot, to make a film that is far from the banal, and that appeals to those who watch it. I think that it is also worthwhile to point out that the director avoided any kind of ideological preaching, something that could have been tiresome. Salles stresses, instead, that the journey was an occasion for self-discovery... All in all, I think that you won't regret watching "The Motorcycle Diaries". It isn't an eulogy about "Che" Guevara but rather a film that gives us the chance of learning what kind of experiences molded the way in which he viewed things. If you aren't interested in that, you can just consider this movie an opportunity to appreciate the scenery of some really beautiful places in South America, and to enjoy the adventures of two young men that embarked on the journey of a lifetime... Belen Alcat
"The Motorcycle Diaries" is one of those rare films that one should see on the big screen. Having just watched the film on dvd, I wished that I did take the time to see the film in the theatre last year. The film is based on a road trip that the late Communist/Latino revolutionary Ernesto `Che' Guevara took with his best friend Alberto Granado in South America. The two friends wanted to explore South America as they have never seen it. Gael Garcia Bernal from "Y Tu Mama Tambien", and "Bad Education" plays the young Ernesto `Che' Guevara and Rodrigo de la Serna as Alberto Granado. The first half of the film begins as a road flick where two friends decides on a whim to travel the country by motorcycle but during the second half, the viewer sees the nature of the film turn serious as Ernesto and Alberto starts encountering various locals who are impoverished and are suffering under the tyranny of their local government. Gael Garcia Bernal's performance as a young Che Guevara was truly impressive. There is a quiet intensity about him as an actor that made me believe that he was Che Guevara. Rodrigo de la Serna was a delight to watch as Che's womanizing, playful companion and was just as much fun to watch as Gael Garcia was as Che. The scenery was breathtaking. I truly felt like I was in South America personally. Throughout the first half of the film I always wondered where on earth the two friends found gas for the motorcycle because all I saw was them driving in desolated areas of the country where there is no gas stations. The Latin-tinged film score was excellent. It complimented each scene. Nothing loud and bombastic like in American films where the music almost overwhelms the scenes. The second hour of the film is easily the strongest moments of the film. Seeing Che and Alberto interact with the patients of a leper colony was deeply moving. I especially liked the interaction between Che and a young woman who refused to have surgery. Another great scene was when Che and Alberto arrived at the colony and shook hands with a couple of the residents without gloves as a symbolic gesture. All in all I loved the film. The performances by Gael Garcia Bernal and Rodrigo de la Serna were excellent and were a joy to watch. The bonus features were far from disappointing. Lots of bonus goodies. I really enjoyed the making of the film and the conversation with Alberto Granado.