The Motorcycle Diaries

DVD Reviews | Mar 4th, 2005

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Starring Gael García Bernal, Rodrigo De la Serna, Jean Pierre Noher, Lucas Oro, Marina Glezer, Mercedes Moran, Mia Maestro
Written By: Ernesto Che Guevara (Book) Alberto Granado (Book) Jose Rivera (Screenplay)
Directed By: Walter Salles
Studio: Universal/Focus
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Based on the writings of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, revolutionary leader and his childhood friend Alberto Granado, about their journey across South America. An uncharted territory to the two companions, both trek on a motorcycle across various terrains and witness first hand the continent they came to grow up in. Starting out on the journey, the two men are young and naive about the world ahead and during the course of the adventure, become enlightened, strong-willed and know the path they must take in life.

With Latin America as the backdrop of the story, Ernesto “Che” Guevara and Alberto Granado set forth on one of the most beautiful adventures anyone can ever take. The Motorcycle Diaries features the usual road trip scenarios, like one hell of a good time along with the typical problems. If it’s not the snowy Andes Mountains, or the constant collapses on the bike, Ernesto and Alberto must face tough conditions on the journey ahead. With little money, food and shelter, both men must do what it takes to get them across the continent. Unaware of what was out there, Ernesto and Alberto decide they want to see what Latin America is all about. By the end of the trip, both men have an understanding of themselves, the countries they have traveled in, and what kind of world awaits them. Ernesto “Che” Guevara would go on to become one of the most world reknown revolutionary leaders in Cuba, who is later assasinated by the CIA. This point is only mentioned briefly at the end of the film. It hardly ever sheds any light on what Ernesto would become. If you are some what familiar with Che Guevara than you can see how the young man he is when he leaves their home and the kind of man he turns into as the journey progresses. That is one of the interesting things I really enjoyed about the movie. That both men end up being very different at the end of the trip.

Ernesto and Alberto were like Abbott and Costello, “The Odd Couple,” because of their diverse personalities. Ernesto was polite, honest, smart and a leader. Alberto was more of the opposite. Very sarcastic, yet humorous, as well as intelligent and street smarts. He would always try and swindle some food or drinks for the two while on the journey. The fighting and banter between the two were great. Excellent chemistry and I was surprised how funny the two were. I wasn’t expecting much comedy out of this film, but their was parts that I was laughing out loud for a while. Gael Garcia Bernal was amazing as Ernesto. You can see a resemblance and he did a great job in portraying the character. Rodrigo De la Serna was another surprise. Quite funny and charming, the character of Alberto was pretty fun to watch on screen. You really didn’t know what he was going to say or do. What also was amazing about The Motorcycle Diaries was the backdrop of the movie. South America. It really was astounding how lush and beautiful the landscapes are down there. Some places seem desolate and remote but captured in its own beauty. A photographer’s dream, cinematography Eric Gautier shoots the movie like the Latin America is one of the actors as well. Not knowing what to expect in terrain, both men deal with all kinds of roads, swamps, rivers, mountains, and inclement weather. Unfortunately, the motorcycle does not make the entire journey. Beat up, and old to begin with, the motorcycle takes a beating. Ernesto and Alberto must find other means of transportation. Another aspect of the film that stood out was the music and score, by Gustavo Santaolalla. Many different styles were integrated into the film with many latin styles used, with things as simple as an accoustic or electric guitar for the score. It fit the film perfectly though.

Looking at the extras, there are plenty to check out. First thing I checked out was the deleted scenes with over 10 minutes of footage left on the cutting room floor. I particularly enjoyed the scene with the two men driving in an old pickup truck up a rocky and very hilly mountainside. Wondering why the truck keeps driving over big rocks and sometimes boulders, they find out the driver is blind and now realize their lives are in his hands. Pretty funny scene to check out. Then you check out a “Moment with Alberto Granado” whom is still alive, retired from the medicine profession in Cuba, and discusses how he knew Ernesto and other aspects surrounding the film. Also, you can watch a “Making of,” and two featurettes with Gael Garcia Bernal, discussing the film, and his philosophies as an actor. Finally, if you enjoyed the music like I did, than check out “Music of the Road: An interview with Composer Gustavo Santaolalla.”

The Motorcycle Diaries was a real treat to watch. Filled with amazing locations and excellent visuals, the story is what propels the movie and helps explain how one journey can change a person. If you are not sure of what you may become or want to do with your life, experiences like Ernesto and Alberto would definitely have an effect you. Their defining moment was visiting The Island for Lepracy as visiting Doctors. Witnessing the folks at the village as sweet, gentle people both patients, nurses, and doctors, helping people is what made them happy. Events like those would then guide them into the direction that they nee

Deleted Scenes
A Moment with Alberto Granado: Share a moment with Alberto Granado as he reflects on his adventure with Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
The Making of The Motorcycle Diaries: Interviews with cast and crew explore the creation of this revolutionary film.
A Moment with Gael Garcia Bernal: An intimate conversation with Gael Garcia Bernal on Telemundo, the Spanish-language broadcast network.
“Toma Uno” (“Take One”) with Gael Garcia Bernal: Gael shares his personal philosophy as an actor – brought to you by mun2 television, the Latino entertainment cable network.
Music of the Road: an interview with composer Gustavo Santaolalla.

SPANISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1

Widescreen 1.85:1 Color (Anamorphic)


Favorite Scenes: The beginning of the journey, The Swim Across the river, The Leper Village, Goodbyes
Rating: R
Running Time: 127 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: