In 1952, twenty-three year old medical student Ernesto Guevara de la Serna - Fuser to his friends and later better known as 'Ernesto Che Guevara' - one semester away from graduation, decides to postpone his last semester to accompany his twenty-nine year old biochemist friend 'Alberto Granado' - Mial to his friends - on his four month, 8,000 km long dream motorcycle trip throughout South America starting from their home in Buenos Aires. Their quest is to see things they've only read about in books about the continent on which they live, and to finish that quest on Alberto's thirtieth birthday on the other side of the continent in the Guajira Peninsula in Venezuela. Not all on this trip goes according to their rough plan due to a broken down motorbike, a continual lack of money (they often stretching the truth to gain the favor of a variety of strangers to help them), arguments between the two in their frequent isolation solely with each other, their raging libidos which sometimes get ...Written by
When Ernesto and Alberto are in Temuco, walking with the bike and reading "El Diario Austral," Alberto complains because they misspelled his last name. El Diario Austral still exists, and it's the biggest newspaper in the Araucanía region of southern Chile. During filming in Temuco, the newspaper wrote a new article about the making of the film, and deliberately misspelled Alberto's last name again, 50 years later. See more »
The movie is set in the early 1950s. When Ernesto and Alberto arrive in Valparaiso, Chile, a blue floating dry-dock (the "Valparaiso III", owned by SOCIBER) is visible on the bay. It first appeared in 1985. See more »
The topic is interesting, the quintessential "road movie" with social and political undertones (or maybe the quintessential social and political film with road undertones) and, all in all, fairly well realized. The Latin American natural and human landscape is, as always, stunning in its beauty and variety. All in all a decent film. Yet, one can't help but comparing it with the film it could have been and it wasn't, mainly due to a certain Hollywood sappiness that, maybe under the influence of the American portion of the production, percolates through the whole film. Some defects are subtle and, all in all, venial: the way facial expressions are edited in here and there in the film, certain semi-comical moments whose placement and frequency are too predictable not to arouse the suspicion that they went directly from the pages of a production manual into the film, etc. Others are more evident: the river-crossing scene is absolutely unforgivable (and this whether Guevara really swam through the river or not), the political and social aspects of the film are downplayed and, when they are played at all, they are with a naiveté that borders with a populist "good feeling" (what the Italians used to call, some ten years ago, "il buonismo.") Gael Garcia Bernal is a solid actor, and this film confirms it, but we are far away from the performance in "El crime del Padre Amaro." One can even glimpse the early symptoms of Tarantinism (a disease that I named after Quentin Tarantino: a great director who is, however, so busy being Quentin Tarantino that his life seems not to have much space for anything else.)
But, as I said, all in all, the story is good, the film keeps moving, the South American landscape is beautiful, the Argentinian accent is deliciously musical. Not a masterpiece, but worth the price of the ticket, which is more than you can say for so many films.
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