Skip to main content

Enter For A Chance To Win A Passes To See To SHAZAM! In Phoenix

Movie Review: Neruda

Biopic folds reality into fantasy.

Review by Brandon Wolfe

In 1948 Chile, famed poet and senator Pablo Neruda (Luis Gnecco) has made major political waves. An outspoken man-of-the-people communist, Neruda is not one to shy away from espousing his beliefs to power, making some powerful enemies in the process. This penchant for fierce candidness results in a warrant being issued for his arrest, sending him into hiding alongside his loyal wife Delia (Mercedes Morán) and aided by a vast network of loyalists. Hot on his trail is an obsessive policeman (Gael Garcia Bernal) who despises Neruda for all that he symbolizes.


The setup for Neruda, directed by Pablo Larraín (whose Jackie, another unconventional biopic, is also in theaters), sounds like something on par with The Fugitive, with a hunted man just barely keeping one step ahead of the determined lawman out to bring him in. Yet Neruda is hardly a thriller of that ilk. Never does it leave the audience breathless with anxiety over Neruda’s capture. If anything, Neruda seems above it all, never in any real danger no matter what he does. Bernal’s cop, Peluchonneau, is portrayed as a boastful yet inept boob, incessantly offering up flowery narration about the hatred he holds for his prey that only serves to make him seem more foolish. In a peculiar way, the film somewhat suggests an arthouse, Spanish-language Smokey and the Bandit.

Neruda splits its focus, acting in one respect as a character study of its titular subject, a man who lustily takes in life. Neruda is a hedonist given to throwing ribald parties and frequenting bustling brothels. He’s a gifted writer and a stirring political figure, but he’s also a man with an ego as large as his generous waistline. At one point in a spat with Delia, he spits out “Kill yourself if you want to. That way, I’ll write about you another 20 years.” The film neglects to hide the warts adorning a figure whom it could be very tempting to portray as purely inspirational.

The other focus of Neruda is a bit trickier, though certainly not wanting for ambition. In a conversation between Delia and Peluchonneau late in the film, she points out to the inspector that he doesn’t exist, that he’s just a supporting character created by Neruda himself. That goes a long way toward explaining why the character had seemed so artificial in construction all throughout the film, his baroque musings sounding distinctly writerly in a way that doesn’t sync up with anyone else in the film. Yet as a meta-narrative leap, I’m not sure it works for the film. I’m all for doing whatever is necessary to liven up mundane biopics, but skewing the film through the looking glass of authorial fiction lands as something of a head-scratcher.


Neruda is a beautifully shot film, particularly in its snowbound climax, where it seems to reach for the same sort of haunting blood-in-the-snow fatalism as The Revenant. Gnecco and Bernal both put in fantastic character work. The former makes more of an impression, but the latter is saddled with a much more difficult character to embody, making his work all the more admirable. I don’t know that the film comes across as a true portrait of Neruda’s place in history, but its examination of the relationship between art and artist is probably more interesting than a more straightforward piece might have been. Truth may be stranger than fiction, but the latter is much more enjoyable.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Brandon Wolfe at @BrandonTheWolfe.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

#ADogsPurpose Arrives On Digital HD On April 18 & On Blu-ray Combo Pack On May 2

An uplifting and inspirational look at life through the eyes of man’s best friend warms hearts this spring when A Dog’s Purpose arrives on Digital HD on April 18, 2017 and on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand on May 2, 2017, from Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. An empathetic and relatable drama, this sentimental film takes viewers on a powerful journey to experience the relationship between dogs and their owner – to love, protect, comfort and always find a way back home.




Based on the beloved bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog’s Purpose, from director Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules, Dear John, The 100-Foot Journey), shares the soulful and surprising story of one devoted dog (voiced by Josh Gad – Frozen, Angry Birds) who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love. A narrative with “genuine heart, humor and a real message of love” (Michael Heaton, The Plain Dealer), the fami…

Enter For A Chance To Win A Passes To See To THE AFTERMATH In Dallas

Enter For A Chance To Win Passes To See THE AFTERMATH on March 26th at 7:00 PM in Dallas.

THE AFTERMATH is set in postwar Germany in 1946. Rachael Morgan (Keira Knightley) arrives in the ruins of Hamburg in the bitter winter, to be reunited with her husband Lewis (Jason Clarke), a British colonel charged with rebuilding the shattered city. But as they set off for their new home, Rachael is stunned to discover that Lewis has made an unexpected decision: They will be sharing the grand house with its previous owners, a German widower (Alexander Skarsgård) and his troubled daughter. In this charged atmosphere, enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal.



CLICK HERE TO GET TICKETS-

SEATING IS LIMITED, SO ARRIVE EARLY.

PASS DOES NOT GUARANTEE A SEAT AT THE SCREENING.

This screening will be monitored for unauthorized recording. By attending, you agree not to bring any audio and/or visual recording device including laptop computers into the theater and you consent to physical search of y…

Enter For A Chance To Win A Passes To See To SHAZAM! In Phoenix

Enter For A Chance To Win Passes To See SHAZAM! on April 1st at 7:00 PM in Phoenix.

We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Asher Angel) case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam (Zachary Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard (Djimon Hounsou). Still a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong).



CLICK HERE TO ENTER-

http://ShazamMovie.com
Facebook-https://www.facebook.com/ShazamMovie/
Twitter-ht…