Neruda

"Excellent"

Neruda Review


Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning poet Pablo Neruda in this inventive biopic, which playfully creates a cat-and-mouse adventure as it traces two years in which he was pursued by government officials who wanted to arrest him for his communist ideas. It's funny and emotional, and visually stunning as it criss-crosses Chile from the ocean to the ice-capped Andean peaks. And its originality makes it simply stunning.

In 1948, Pablo (Luis Gnecco) is a senator in Chile's parliament when right-wing President Gonzalez (the great Alfredo Castro) begins cracking down on communists. Pablo is famous for his movingly evocative poems, which champion the working classes even though he lives the life of a rock star. So he goes into hiding with his painter wife Delia (Mercedes Moran), abandoning their amazing art-filled home for a cramped apartment. As they wait for their handlers to figure a way to smuggle them out of the country to Europe, they learn that the government has assigned a top cop to track them down: Oscar (Gael Garcia Bernal) is a second-generation detective with serious daddy issues. He's also relentless in his pursuit, following Pablo and Delia around the country as Pablo leaves tantalising clues behind.

The film is structured like an extended chase sequence, as these two men try to outsmart each other. Along the way, the story traverses Chile both ideologically and geographically. Even with the quirky-arty tone, the perspective is remarkably internalised. The central idea is that these two men need each other to define who they are, fuelling each others' obsessions as they essentially create each others' stories. It's a complex idea that plays out with comedy and insight that's conveyed sharply by the two actors, who invest plenty of wit into the procedings.

Gnecco plays Pablo as a fascinating contradiction: a compassionate champion of the underclasses as well as a wealthy bon vivant who spends much of his free time cavorting in brothels. Opposite him, Bernal is hilariously dogged as Oscar, a likeable guy whose simple tenacity isn't much of a match for the poet's wit. As they travel from one amazing setting to the next, the film builds a striking picture of both the Pablo's life and the socio-political situation in Chile, which is eerily recognisable to anyone in today's world. But even more than that, the film is a lively celebration of the dignity of the ordinary man, seen through the eyes of someone extraordinary.



Neruda

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 107 mins

In Theaters: Friday 16th December 2016

Distributed by: Fabula

Production compaines: Fabula

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 29

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Pablo Larrain

Producer: Juan de Dios Larrain

Starring: as Oscar Peluchoneau, Luis Gnecco as Pablo Neruda, as Delia del Carril, Alfredo Castro as Gabriel González Videla, Michael Silva as Álvaro Jara, as Victor Pey, as Jorge Bellet, Antonia Zegers as Pepe Rodríguez, Marcelo Alonso as Bianchi, Héctor Noguera as Jorge Alessandri, Néstor Cantillana as Martínez, Jaime Vadell as Rubén Azócar, Diego Muñoz as Border guard in Argentina (uncredited)

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