I didn't recognize anyone in this film, except for the girlfriend of the girlfriend, who was excellent in another HBO offering from Chile, "The Maid," but it was so well-cast and had so much heart it really didn't matter.
What a treat to get to visit the Andes nation's Atacama Desert, reputed to be the driest place on Earth and one of the locales most like Mars that we're ever likely to see.
The main storyline here is intriguing: An idealistic schoolteacher is hustled into space, in such a rush, it seems, that there is no time for training -- just so Chile can claim to have launched the first Latin-American astronaut. Then the folks who sent the poor sap up can't afford to bring him down and he whiles away his dazzling orbits of earth despairing of ever seeing his girlfriend again.
The supporting cast in this film is excellent -- particularly the hotheaded director of ground control, his more stable chief engineer, and a leprechaun-like Russian émigré they bring in for a little desperately needed technical support.
The movie strives a little too hard for laughs at times, and there is a superfluous tangent involving snipers bumbling around the desert, but these flaws are forgivable given the richness of the rest of the film.
"Chile Puede" ends on a satisfyingly romantic note. Indeed, Chile apparently CAN do it!
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