Critical Film Review: The Motorcycle Diaries

  1. The Motorcycle Diaries, Walter Salles, 2004
    1. Director Information: Walter Salles was born in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. He has been a director since 1986. In that time he has directed 22 films including On the Road, Dark Water, Behind the Sun, Midnight, and Paris, je t’aime.  
  1. The Motorcycle Diaries is a movie about two men who go on an expedition through Latin America. The main characters names are Ernesto and Alberto. Ernesto is a doctor who seems genuinely good-hearted. Alberto on the other hand tries to swindle people frequently to try to pay for their trip. The men are on a motorcycle and it consistently breaks down until they sell it. During their journey the two witness the inhumanities that had been occurring throughout the continent. They met people who had lost everything they had to the white European settlers. Many were so poor they couldn’t eat and were without homes. Ernesto decides by the end of the movie that he would like the continent to be a pan Latin continent.
  2. The Motorcycle Diaries was set up to provide a narrative of the journey that Ernesto and Alberto shared. I don’t know if the director attempted to tell the story with absolute accuracy or if he took license to embellish the story because I do not know enough about the life of Ernesto Che Guevara or the events that took place during this trip. I believe that the movie was probably pretty accurate. I think this because at the end the director gave us facts about the life of Ernesto Che Guevara. The film was not a documentary style film I don’t think. I feel like the film told a story of the past and it is for that reason that I think this film would be classified as both a biography and a historical drama.
  3. I thought the film as a whole was rather good. I think that the best features were the acting, the scenery, and the reality of the film. I think the director did a marvelous job of showing Ernesto’s views change over time. I feel that this change had a smooth transition that seemed very natural and believable. I watch a lot of foreign films so the fact that the movie was in another language did not bother me. I loved that the film showed much of the places that they went. It was nice to be able to see the physical geography of Latin America. I really liked the actors in this film. I feel like they did a great job, especially the actor who played Ernesto. I think that he was really good at having asthma attacks. I feel like that would be a hard thing to act out and it was very convincing. I can’t think of anything from the film that bothered me.
  4. I think that the director was attempting to convince people that Ernesto Che Guevara was not just a crazy murderer but that he had good intentions in doing what he did during his life. I don’t know that the film convinced me that he was right in murdering people but I do believe that he had a worthy cause. I feel that if I lived in a place where poverty, hunger, and disease were the norms I would want to fight those in power as well. He started a revolution. Unfortunately he didn’t start a peaceful revolution. So in some ways the director proved his point but he did not change my beliefs overall.
  5. I learned about the physical geography just by seeing what they saw on their trip. I got to see Macchu Picchu and the Amazon River up close. I learned about the political geography by witnessing the way that the class system affected people’s daily lives. For example, when people traveled on the river that the rich would ride in the nice big boat and the poor would travel on the small crappy boat. I learned how lepers were kept on an island away from the healthy people. I thought it was awful that the nuns would only provide food to those who attended mass. Talk about taking advantage of people! I learned about the political geography during the scene where the couple tells Ernesto and Alberto how the police helped the white people throw them out of their home. I learned about the cultural geography of Latin America too. I found that soccer is a big sport in South America, that Latinos really enjoy dancing, and that most of the architecture that was built by the indigenous people of Latin America has since been tore down and replaced with unattractive cities.