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The Motorcycle Diaries

Walter Salles

The Motorcycle Diaries
Before young Ernesto sets off on a road trip with his dear friend Alberto, he promises his mother he will write her the most beautiful letters she has ever read while travelling for months throughout Latin America. Little did she know that her son would be mailing her politically-driven manifestos, or that Ernesto would grow up to become the great Che Guevara. The Motorcycle Diaries is an absolutely stunning film, both in its storytelling and jaw-dropping landscape, as Ernesto and Alberto take a life-altering journey on a dilapidated motorbike deemed "the Mighty One." The movie does an excellent job of making sure we are as captivated by the locals as Ernesto is, and watching the passion and intensity brew within him is remarkable. The travel starts out humorous, as their motorcycle consistently breaks down and the two find themselves having to use their cleverness and charm to win over the assistance of local towns. But it's when the pair see how some of the hard workers they befriend are grossly mistreated that the movie becomes more intense, capped off during their volunteer work with lepers that live on a separate island than the doctors, with a river dividing the healthy from the weak. Everything about The Motorcycle Diaries is moving, from the beautiful scenery to the impressive performances by Bernal and De La Serna. Immediately after watching you're drawn to the life of Che Guevara but there's no biography to be found as an extra. The closest we come is an all too brief interview with the real Alberto Granado, as the aging man shares his fond memories of the travel and admits to this day that he still thinks of Ernesto when making decisions in life. The behind-the-scenes footage is somewhat interesting, with cast and crew interviews, but uses too many clips from the film to pad it. Extremely brief snippets with Bernal on Spanish television also leave you feeling short-changed, but the deleted scenes make you smile. With the three deleted offerings clocking in at a mere eight minutes, they should have left them in to help you fall in love with Che just a touch more than you already will. Plus: an interview with composer Gustavo Santaolalla. (Alliance Atlantis)
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