"The Motorcycle Diaries"
Directed by Walter Salles.
Written by Jose Rivera. Based on previous publications Ché
Guevara and Alberto Granado.
Starring Gael García Bernal and Rodrigo De La Serna.
Release Year: 2004
Review Date: 10/5/04
I learned an important lesson in agreeing to
attend the 9:30 PM showing of "The Motorcycle Diaries" this past
Monday night: don't ever go see movies with subtitles unless
you are absolutely wide awake.
This had a devastating effect on my thoughts
about "The Motorcycle Diaries", because I ran out of patience very
early in this screening for the slow movement of the story and the
lackadaisical nature of the onscreen "action" in the first
half-hour, at which point I was in and out of sleep for the
remainder of the film.
Some of this blame goes on me, for
remembering too late that this film is 100% subtitled and it has a
shitload of dialogue (actually, a fuckload, since the f-word
gets so much play throughout the flick) that needs to be read
and--for the tired eyeball--this is not a good thing! Based on
a road trip made by Ché Guevara before he was, you know, "Ché", the
story follows Guevara (played here by
Mama Tambien" lead Gael Garcia Bernal) and his buddy Alberto
(Rodrigo De La Serna) as they make an 8,000-km motorcycle ride to
discover the world and find themselves. Along the way, there's
women, and nuns, and Peru, and...well, you'll see.
I haven't read the books on which this film
is based, and I'll admit that I only know enough about Guevara to
know that my old boss used to think my goatee made me look just like
Guevara and that he was quite the revolutionary...but, not much
more. As such, this comes off as a road flick to the
uneducated schmoe like myself, and from the get-go, I thought that
save for a much better looking set of backdrops here in "The
Motorcycle Diaries", "Y Tu Mama Tambien" has cornered the market on
this kind of film for me, and there were better sex scenes and
conversations in that one. Granted, "The Motorcycle Diaries"
is much deeper and is a supremely better dramatic piece of
work...but, it was so slow coming out of the gates that I never
fully got into the storytelling or the preludes to what Guevara
would fight for (and against, really) later in his life.
The flick is beautiful to look at, though,
and even in my periodic slumber I felt that the lead performances by
De La Serna and Bernal were solid. They did get to say "fuck"
a lot, which is also very cool, but I liked their chemistry
throughout the film and even when things are humdrum, at least these
two are fairly interesting to watch.
But I think that I will watch "The
Motorcycle Diaries" again on video to see what I really think.
In the meantime, I was a little disappointed, partially because I
was so bent on seeing it the day it came out and I feel like I've
been waiting on this thing for months.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard