The Motorcycle Diaries
The Motorcycle Diaries is an adaptation of a journal written by Ernesto “Che” Guevara (Bernal) when he was 23 years old. He and his friend, Alberto Granado (de la Serna) are typical college students who, seeking fun and adventure before graduation, decide to travel across Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Peru in order to do their medical residency at a leper colony. Beginning as a buddy/road movie in which Ernesto and Alberto are looking for chicks, fun and adventure before they must grow up and have a more serious life. As is said in the film itself, it’s about “two lives running parallel for a while.” The two best friends start off with the same goals and aspirations, but by the time the film is over, it’s clear what each man’s destiny has become.
“The Motorcycle Diaries” tracks the journey of Earnesto Che Guevara (Gael Garc’a Bernal) and his friend Alberto Granado’s (Rodrigo de la Serna) 12,000 kilometer motorcycle journey through South America in the early 1950’s. Earnesto, a medical student, and Alberto, a biochemist, experience many adventures with Alberto’s beat-up 1939 motorcycle along the eight month trip; especially when the bike breaks down, forcing them to hitchhike and walk the rest of the way. Despite being hungry, tired, and broke, they successfully complete their quest, coming to rest at a leper colony in Lima, Peru.
The characters are very well developed, and the viewers can feel sort of an attachment to them. While at the leper colony, you can’t help but feel for the patients, and the life they must endure. The beginning and middle part of the movie is slow moving, and combined with the English subtitles (the film is in Spanish), can be difficult to stay focused. The end, however, is very climactic , as you can sense the change in Earnesto’s heart from this voyage. Overall, the film is well written, but because of the sluggish movement, I wouldn’t recommend viewing this movie in the theatre. This film would be good for a lethargic night’s rental.
This film is far from eligibility for receiving the Dove Seal. The language is very offensive, with over 70 profanities. There is also talk of sleeping with women, including a scene where Alberto pays for a prostitute. Not an appropriate film for those who are language-sensitive.