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The Motorcycle Diaries
DVD disk
Mar 1, 2005 By: Scott Weinberg
The Motorcycle Diaries order
Director:
Walter Salles

Actors:
Gael Garcia Bernal
Rodrigo De la Serna
Mercedes Moran

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Years before he become the leader of the Cuban Revolution, a young Ernesto "Che" Guevara took a road trip with his pal Alberto Granado. They covered 5,000 miles in four months...on the back of a rickety old motorcycle. Their goal was simply to 'discover' their own homeland (and meet some ladies in the process), but they ended up discovering a whole lot more than that.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
In a time when so many "biopics" are nothing more than freshly-scrubbed and predictable love-fests, it's great to see a film like this, one that digs back into a famous person's youth and helps to explain HOW he became so influential. Most modern biography movies just rattle through all the stuff we KNOW already - and then they cap all the drama off with a nice little tear-jerky finale. But Walter Salles' movie isn't interested in repeating all the stuff you can read in any encyclopedia.

Put aside what you know (or think you know) about Che Guevara and his impact on Latin American politics. Forget, for just a few hours, that your own political beliefs may contradict what Che was all about. This is not a movie that really cares whether or not you admire the man that Guevara ultimately became; this is a movie about how one restless young man, with the help of a wise and devoted friend, discovered his life's true calling while puttering through the Latin landscape on a decrepit old motorbike.

But if all this stuff sounds dry and kinda history-class-ish, then I'm not describing the film adequately. THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES is sweet and sincere; it's heartfelt and periodically quite funny; it works as a crafty character study, as an entertaining "road movie," and as a historical document - only it's not at all dry or textbooky. The two leads are pitch-perfect, Salles brings a masterful touch to the visual side of the equation, and, as a whole, the movie is just supremely satisfying. Even if the subject matter seems like something that's just not "up your alley," trust me on this one: THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES is a seriously great movie.
THE EXTRAS
Deleted Scenes: Three cut scenes that run about 9 minutes combined.

A Moment with Alberto Granado: A brief-yet-kinda-poignant visit with the real-life Alberto Granado as he remembers his old friend Ernesto.

Making of The Motorcycle Diaries: A 22-minute featurette that offers behind-the-scenes info and a historical reference point for the film. Though this is essentially an "intro to the movie" sort of EPK, it's extremely well-produced and full of fascinating tidbits nonetheless.

A Moment with Gael Garcia Bernal: A very brief interview segment from the Telemundo network.

"Take One" with Gael Garcia Bernal: Another snippet of television interview with the celebrated young actor.

Music of the Road: An Interview with Composer Gustavo Santaolalla: A third mini-interview with the film's composer.

Cast and Filmmakers: Text info on the various cast and crew members behind The Motorcycle Diaries.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
There are the foreign-historical-type movies that elicit snoozes right out of the gate, but THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES will consistently surprise you at every turn. This is the kind of "gateway" movie that helps to make foreign films more popular across the board. It's just that good.
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