For Reel

Neruda (2016)
October 22, 2016, 5:13 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Pablo Larraín
4.5 Stars
nerudaWith his third feature film, director Pablo Larraín continues to mine the travesties of Chilean fascist history, this time through a surreal, seriocomic tone that plays as a game of cat-and-mouse between the famous communist senator/poet (played by Luis Gnecco) and a detective on his trail (Gael Garcia Bernal). The way the relationship between the men unfolds suggests both Neruda’s own pretense and how the lunacy of the country’s politics helped inform the worldview of the poet. Larraín and cinematographer Sergio Armstrong bring a unique color palette of cool sepia tones (much of the early goings are given a saturated purple hue), furthering a sense of unreality—the film is not so much a biopic about Neruda as a filmed account of how Neruda might have seen this period of his life. The questions of reality in the latter half of the film elevate the picture significantly, recontextualizing both the political drama and Neruda himself with a narrative fracturing. The film would argue that the biopic form cannot capture history on its own, but requires a level of invention to get at an elusive mystical truth about what a person and place felt like.