Guest post! We had a one day movie ticket give-away recently, and one of our winners, Kathy Avila, was nice enough to write up a review of the film. Pablo Larraín’s Neruda is only at the Laemmle Royal right now, so I’d jump on it while you still can. (Yes, same director as for Jackie.)
The film Neruda is a biopic that doesn’t follow a simple timeline of Pablo Neruda’s life, but instead allows the viewer to experience the moments and people that molded him politically and poetically. Larraín pays homage to the noir genre as Gael García Bernal’s detective character pursues Neruda for his political views. As the film develops, one can see Neruda’s political views evolving and beginning to intertwine with his art. The film carries out the suspense of noir without the overused and overplayed motifs that often come with the genre. The film also brings to mind the relationship between the artist and their art. Without their art, the artist would have no recognition, which asks the question: is recognition what makes the artist? Of course, without the artist, the art would never have existed. This codependent relationship between the artist and the art is mirrored through the poetry Neruda creates, through the cat and mouse relationship of detective & prey, and through the cinematography itself and its relationship with the director. What makes this biopic stand out is that its plot does not rely solely on the big moments that make up a life, but also on the small, almost dismissable moments that make each of our human experiences different. Another feature of the film that really stands out is the way the actors portray the characters. Neruda is portrayed as a great poet but also a flawed politician, as a lover of women but a poor husband. Gael García Bernal’s character, Óscar Peluchonneau, is portrayed as a man obsessed with the chase but without any deeper motivation. The film could be enjoyed equally by fans of Pablo Neruda and any person looking for a good detective story. Overall, the cast and director breathe life into one of the greatest poets.