The Motorcycle Diaries

Rated 4.0

Before Ernesto “Ché” Guevara became a 1960s poster boy of populist sympathizers and, more specifically, Latin American communists, the young Argentine medical student and his biochemist buddy Alberto Granado hopped on a 1939 Norton 500 motorcycle they christened “The Mighty One” and took a 1952 tour throughout South America. Their trip, chronicled in Guevara’s diaries and Granado’s book With Ché Through Latin America, has been shaped into an amusing, moving, stunningly panoramic and fascinating film. The story is more of a coming-of-age adventure than an early tooting of Ché’s subversive horn, as the two pilgrims (Gael García Bernal and Rodrigo de la Serna) squabble, eat, drink, bum and even con their way through the countryside, villages and cities. Director Walter Salles maintains a languid pace as one young man finds the world changing him and reciprocally discovers how much he wants to change the world.