"The film, Neruda, like the Poet makes no apologies for the whole host of risks it takes"
Pablo Neruda is thought to be the greatest poet in the Spanish language, despite many readers finding it difficult not to associate him with the deep intensity he felt towards communism. Nevertheless John Leonard of the New York Times said he “was one of the great ones, a Whitman of the South.” And director, Pablo Larrain follows his films, The Club and No with Neruda.
The Club is a realistic observation of political, social, and religious contingency, above all justice (or lack, thereof), where networks of power continue, even if it's behind the shadows. At times Neruda can almost appear surreal, as it plays with time and historical fact.
Neruda was the Poet’s pen name, and he wrote in various styles including surrealist and historical epic, as well as political. He produced a prose type autobiography, and passionate love poems, often making a point to write in green ink, an apparent symbol of desire and hope.
Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez called him "the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language.
Director Larrain employs Gael García Bernal like a work of fiction in this inventive drama about the poet and senator, also following the period he was in exile during a post-second world war Chile.
Bernal plays a detective tracking down Neruda, after he’s received threats for impeachment, accusing the government of discarding their communist ideals to placate the US. A fabulous chase then begins between Neruda and the detective, part fact, part fiction, seeing as the detective didn’t exist.
There’s a delicate balance in order not to overemphasise the excessive pride of Neruda, and the Screenwriter Guillermo Calderón manages to deliver a playful, yet sharp tone, with lots of wit. Luis Gnecco (Neruda) bears a striking resemblance to the poet, and seems to take pure delight in the thrill of the chase.
A refreshing biopic which in no way worships its subject but like Neruda as a personality remains vibrant and full of energy.
The detective cannot be accused of being a cliché, he’s just a man trying to decipher who his father is, through careful analysis but somehow finds himself torn between a more sensitive, artistic side and one made up of restrictive rules.
The film, Neruda, like the Poet makes no apologies for the whole host of risks it takes, and in so doing captures his very spirit. As a voyeur I can promise you a more meaningful than most, lively biopic.