Neruda review – frustratingly slow anti-biopic

Jackie director Pablo Larraín loses his way in a film built loosely around the fugitive years of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda

Pablo Larraín’s latest project is resolutely not a biopic. Hooked loosely to the life of Chilean communist poet and intellectual Pablo Neruda (Luis Gnecco), it follows bumbling private investigator Oscar Peluchonneau (Gael García Bernal, providing drily unreliable, hard-boiled narration) and his hunt for the fugitive Neruda, whose champagne socialism was, by 1948, incompatible with the politics of then-president Gabriel González Videla (Alfredo Castro). Some elements work, such as its playful noir-ish voiceover and vibrant palette of pastel pinks and violets. Ambitious, too, of Larraín to twist the historical fiction format, but overall, it’s a slog. Whereas in Jackie, Larraín’s previous film, the narrative felt thin, here the metafiction is simply bloated: the plot meandering, the pacing frustratingly low energy. “Love is so short, forgetting is so long,” Neruda once wrote. If only this Pablo were that succinct.

Watch a trailer for Neruda.


Simran Hans

The GuardianTramp

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