Documenting a 1952 road trip from Buenos Aires, through Patagonia, up through Chile and the Atacama Desert, Macchu Picchu in Peru, the Amazon and ultimately Caracas in Venezuela, the movie The Motorcycle Diaries could have run like a NatGeo South American travelogue. Filming in over 30 locations (many of them haven’t changed much in the last half century) it is indeed breathtakingly beautifully realised.
And since it tracks young Ernesto ”Che” Guevara’s growing awareness of injustice, his abhorrence of inequality, the germination of his belief that change could only come when heavily armed, it could also have been a worthy History Channel documentary. Perhaps that’s why I’d waited so long to sit down and watch it.
What I really didn’t expect was a funny, touching and essentially human cinematic rendition of one of the Twentieth Century’s greatest icons. It’s passionate, witty and moving. The Mighty One is the jovial nickname given to the motorbike that carries Che (excellent Gael Garcia Bernal) and his friend Alberto on their travels. The Mighty One is what this journey made of Che. The movie is a haunting, moving, thought-provoking testament to this transformation.
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