Motorcycle Diaries

Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal, Rodrigo De La Serna, Mia Maestro, Mercedes Moran

Director: Walter Salles

The Mighty One (an aging motorcycle), two young medical students, the vast continent of South America and an epic journey in a different era – these are the ingredients of this story. Normally this would sound like your typical road movie but considering that one of the two students happens to be the infamous Che Guevara this is a “tale of two lives running parallel for sometime.” A story of two men who set off with one set of ideals and aspirations but at the end of their journey they swap them for something more profound.

Che (Gael Garcia Bernal) and his lifelong buddy Alberto (Rodrigo De La Serna) embark on this exciting journey with very little, yet through their charm they manage to get all their essentials from town to town and country to country with some very funny results.

This movie is not about Guevara’s rebel existence it is about self discovery and the realisation of that old human adage which argues that “we are all human irrespective of country, creed, or indeed position in society”.

Beautifully reconstructed it recreates the times, clothing of the locals, manner of the people of that era, motor vehicles, houses and so on. The exuberant South American soundtrack highlights the sense of discovery of the two travellers coupled with some great cinematography it all fits in perfectly.

The direction is good, it stays loyal to the theme of the two travellers bonding and changing because of what is going on around them. Gael gives a solid performance as Che the young initially fairly insecure man who changes into an extremely confident man with great ideas for the future as is made clear in the closing scene where he bids his friend farewell. Rodrigo who plays his friend Alberto is equally fantastic in his role as the gentle roguish charmer who is utterly devoted to his friend.

This movie should motivate you either to travel or at the least to ask yourself a few questions about what it is that you truly desire.

A very good, inspiring movie that definitely merits a trip to your shiny local cinema!

5 out of 6 stars

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