The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

Gael García Bernal, Rodrigo De la Serna, Mía Maestro, Mercedes Morán,
Diarios de motocicleta is a movie starring Gael García Bernal, Rodrigo De la Serna, and Mía Maestro. The dramatization of a motorcycle road trip Che Guevara went on in his youth that showed him his life's calling.
  • 7.8 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, Alberto Granado, Jose Rivera, Writer:
  • Walter Salles, Director:
  • Michael Nozik, Edgard Tenenbaum, Producer:

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Trailer:

7 / 10

Great acting, direction and story - Oscar worthy

This movie is based on the true story that took Ernesto Guevara (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Alberto Granado (Rodrigo de la Serna) on a road trip all across and along South America in the 1950's. The script/direction elegantly avoids any politics or similar. Its focus is on the human transformation of two young Argentine professionals, a turning point in their lives, who decide to see their continent with their own eyes. This movie only covers Che Guevara's life BEFORE he became the famous Che Guevara. Most of us would agree with Che's goals but less, I guess, would agree with his means. However, the movie concentrates on how the world changed Ernesto which in turn led him to try to change the world. The movie ends at the end of their road trip. I understand that there is another movie in the making (with Benicio del Toro) which will show the rest of Che' s life, with politics and flying bullets included. The acting of the movie is first class: Gael Garcia Bernal performs at his best; however it is Rodrigo de la Serna's performance the one that is simply outstanding; not only he represents Granado's as a funny, outgoing character, but he also highlights Gael's characterization of Guevara. Great photography, humor, action, and drama are all ingredients of this movie. If you want to watch a movie that deals with reality and that contrasts with Hollywood's fantasies, this is your movie. You'll laugh, may be cry, but for sure you'll leave the theater thinking about a few things. Finally, this movie ironically represents Che's ultimate goal, a unified continent: the director is Brazilian, the main actor Mexican, the main actress and supporting actor Argentinean, the script writer is from Puerto Rico and the producer, Robert Redford is American. And, the movie was filmed in Argentina, Chile and Peru. Length: 2hs 04 min.

7 / 10

Bias is downfall of this movie

I would not consider myself to be an ultra liberal, but I am somewhat knowledgeable about what has been going on in South America for the last 100 years, and Che Guevara is a part of it. Going into this movie all I knew about him was that he is on a lot of t-shirts, and that "che", despite what ignorant people think, is not his name, it is what Argentinians say to each other like in the US saying "dude".

I am also a big fan of the purity of movies, not this Spider-man crap that is all over the place, but the true art of films, and I am fairly serious when I go into a movie for the first time. A part of this is that I watch the movie throwing all bias I might have out the window and watch it as if I had never heard of it before. That said, I believe this movie was excellent because it had superb cinematography of the beauty of South America, had excellent acting, great chemistry between the two main actors (despite Ebert saying they did not), and an overall political theme.

This movie did not get great reviews in the US, and I haven't seen reviews from Latin American countries, but I am guessing they are better. This is because many people either shied away from the movie once they heard the word Che, and if they did see it, through the whole movie they were probably thinking "commie, commie!".

I have since read up on Che Guevara, and he is actually a fascinating person to study because he began as a rich boy who through his journeys learned how much people were suffering beyond his imagination, and part of this was how he got to be so rich, by suppressing the native people. The movie does an excellent job of showing this transition from his carefree exploring until later having an epiphany about his destiny to help the people. Yes, he got extreme after a while, but the study of him is compelling nonetheless.

It is interesting to know that coffee and bananas that say "Guatemala" are still grown today by slave laborers on farms, and that the US does not mind the slave labor because they were the ones who sponsored a coup in 1951 to install a dictatorship that in history books says it was an ousting of communism, which makes it okay. This is a much bigger and important example than the movie, but it is the same bias involved: People in the United States (I don't say America because that refers to every country from Argentina to Canada, not just the US as people in this country like to think) not only don't care about the suffering of people in other countries (unless it's mentioned on Oprah or involves economic rewards) but have the nerve to call them evil when they try to better themselves, which at the time was the communist movement in South America. This is not the communism of Castro or even of the later Che Guevara, but simply to give more to the starving and suppressed that are today suppressed to make your bananas and Starbucks coffee.

Because of the biases people have towards the people of countries they know nothing about, this movie has been extremely underrated in the wake of films that comparatively suck ("Ray", way overrated) yet have been rewarded because of their popularity and appeasement to the ignorant people that attend theaters in the United States.

9 / 10

Excellent Film, Deserves Award

The Motorcycle Diaries is a tale of Che's life prior to becoming a revolutionary political figure. We follow Che and his friend on a cross-country road trip, a journey into the unknown. The film was beautifully filmed. It really makes you want to travel and go to see some of the South/Central American countries.

The acting was superb. Gael Garcia Bernal is not new to the screen. He has delivered amazing performances in both Amores Perros and Y Tu Mama Tambien. He does not disappoint in this movie. Newcomer, Rodrigo De La Serna, also gives an excellent performance.

Regardless of your politics and personal views of Che, you will walk away from this movie feeling a bit better about humanity.

I'm hoping this pulls Best Foreign Oscar.

7 / 10

Sheer brilliance

From director Walter Salles comes a very moving road journey which had me completely spellbound by the end and I'm sure would gain many viewer's hearts as the infamous director dives deep into many different issues.

The story centres around two young doctors going on a motorbike journey around the world, not for personal gain but for the experience. This idea was completely outstanding. It gives the audience an understanding of young people's desires, not for personal gains such as money but for an experience into real life issues and wishing to know more about the world around them. These ideas I'm sure would make viewers aspire to be like the central characters to go out and explore the world and that was a reason why I personally loved this drama, because it gives inspiration to the audience and really moves them in a way which will leave you completely spellbound.

The film centres on many issues but one which stuck out for me was the heavy ideologies of health. In the year 1950 there were many health issues present in the poorer counties such as Peru and this Oscar winning drama is able to capture these issues magnificently. The two central protagonists are doctors and are wishing to help others with their knowledge and expertise as they explore the less fortunate countries to help with the many depressing health problems the countries are experiencing. There is a very highly emotional driven scene when the lead character tries to help a very ill woman who is refusing to be treated. Tensions are always running high in the latter stages of the film when many issues are wishing to be resolved and the central protagonists are putting themselves on the line to help the ill residents of the poor countries.

Having changes in situations was a very powerful technique. The characters experience a poor life and a rich life. Audiences will see different perspectives of life in the 1950s when seeing there are poor and rich countries and are divided by the smallest differences, such as illnesses. We also see more joyous moments and highly emotional driven scenes which also gives a sense of how life is, the good and bad sides are both expressed in equal amounts which in my opinion was a fantastic move and will capture your heart as it did mine

Centred on the 1950s the film captured the essence of the politically driven time beautifully. Audiences see job issues, money problems and country matters which all juxtapose perfectly to capture the essence of the time and crate a high realism in context of the time

The acting by everyone involved is absolutely outstanding and it confused me when not one received an Oscar nomination because Gael Garcia Bernal and Rodrigo De la Serna are remarkable as the two travellers. Both dealing with their own issues we see different types of characters but similar characteristics to which made the film more believable of society where opinions are divided but also shared.

Bernal plays a character who is always saying what he feels and is never wishing to back down from anyone or anything and he pulled it off tremendously. The passion he creates as the central protagonist Guevara is utterly astonishing as he deals with asthma problems, love lives and money issues. It's a lot for him to take as he realises how serious life can be. Serna to also pulls off a classic performance as the older more experienced of the two who is always looking for that little bit more than his fellow traveller.

Using different countries such as Peru, Venezuela, and Spain allows viewers to gain an insight into the vastness of life. Using poor countries as well as rich countries allows viewers to see different sides to the world in the 1950s and was pulled off greatly. The characters can therefore experience what a posh life is like as well as what life in the fast lane gives them. The camera work is astonishing. Shooting from Venezuela, Peru etc we see different perspective of the countries. The scenery is always beautiful with shots of the towns in a poor state and the general background of the countries is to be admired. The shots of the bike on the roads are to be admired. The camera moves adjacent to the bike giving the realistic effect of the bike moving fast along the empty roads, gaining a sense of freedom and enjoyment.

From watching this film I can say I have been inspired to get on a motorbike and explore the world. Seeing what the central protagonists saw will inspire many as it has inspired me and I have no hesitation in recommending this Oscar winning drama to anyone.

7 / 10

A personal journey

Why a film about Che now? Why suddenly a revival of a revolutionary hero?

Apathy, political blandness and complacency are the characteristics of today's world when compare with the 60's generation, and any left revolutionary dogma seems, for many reasons, to have been put at rest for the time being and until further notice. The relevance of this film today has many different facets and its success is particularly interesting at a moment of change, when wars, political and economical crisis and their global effects, are starting to provoke some reaction suggesting that involvement might just be around the corner. Wisely the film concentrates on following Guevara diaries before becoming radicalised and in the process of gaining knowledge and awareness of the struggle of the Latin American unprivileged classes and prior to breaking up with his middle class ties. The film has had many viewers that have criticized the lack of a stronger political definition in the portrait of the lead character, a more radical view of Guevara and of its political stand even at that early stage in his life. The film makes his image more digestible for a general audience, showing him in a sympathetic light and from a softer perspective. In my view this is exactly what it makes it relevant and interesting for today's audiences. Although the film grows in the memory as being a touch more political than what perhaps Walter Salles aimed for, it doesn't intend to preach politics or even try to be a full-blown biopic of an historical and controversial figure. What makes the message strong is the fact that we actually know who the character eventually will become after the story of the film finishes and the end titles start to run, that makes it rather more poignant. We only witness the beginning of his personal journey and know how much he will travel. The film is more about personal choices, experiences and decisions that eventually might change the course of a life, and particularly about the spirit of being young. The film recreates the freedom of adolescence, a time for absorbing and experimenting, the start of a trek where we discover the world and where justice and a hope for change is strongly embedded with the attitude of the young. Or at least that happen in the 60's generally and particularly in Latin America. The real quality of the film is that through a subtle, engaging, fun tale allows the audience to connect with a period where change, personal and internal, was possible, and where there was hope for a fairer future.

For anyone like myself from Argentina, part of a generation that were there and young at the time, the film evokes just that starting point. It is a rather emotional journey that takes back a whole generation that had firm beliefs in these ideals, as relevant today as they were in 1952 where the action of the film ends and Guevara flights back home shaken by the whole travel experience. It is rather significant that not that much has changed for the better in the Latin America of today, where the gap between the 'haves' and the 'have nots' has, if anything, grown wider. The film is simple and straightforward showing the real talent of Walter Salles for avoiding patronising his audience as he conveys an accurate portrait of the landscape and its people. There is perhaps some excessive 'under acting' on the approach from Gael Garcia Bernal to his performance [ ...was Che really ever such a "softie"?] but still, it is great to see him growing as an actor and as Che through the film. To counter balanced such a restrained interpretation, Rodrigo de la Serna projects the right dosage of charm and Argentinean street wisdom that gives the warmth and humanity the film exudes. The music of Gustavo Santaolaya adds a layer of depth and intensity whilst rightly avoiding, like the rest of the film, most of the traditional clichés of the South American image.