Motorcycle Diaries

Just saw The Motorcycle Diaries. It's moving enough and entertaining enough, and skilfully made (by Walter Salles of Midnight and Central Station fame), and Gael Bernal has charisma enough to consign Billy Crudup, Johnny Depp and Ethan Hawke (but not Robert Downey, Jr.) combined to the shadowy corner of a room, forever.

But why do I get the feeling the movie is something of a whitewash? The only serious flaw we see in the character is that he's too honest; the only hanky panky visible is a little harmless flirting, some groping in a car with his true love (okay, there's that dance, but he looks very, very sorry afterwards).  I thought Bernal was a more real youth in Y Tu Mama Tambien (the more emotionally complex film, overall), while this movie comes off as a recruiting picture for the Communist Party--and to tell the truth I've seen better recruiting pictures for the Communist Party (Battleship Potemkin, I Am Cuba and Lino Brocka/Pete Lacaba's Orapronobis, anyone?).

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