- Product Rating -

Art House Asshole : Neruda

| May 26, 2017

You know how when you’re wanting to go to the movie theater and you look up all the films that are showing and there are alway at least three that you’ve never heard of, let alone have any interest in seeing? Well, good news! I’ve seen those movies. I spend most of my theater experiences in art house theaters watching those movies that you’ve never heard of and then never watch. Yeah, I’m that hipster asshole. My goal with this is to spread information out about these films, that way you can decide one of the following. “That actually sounds pretty cool! I want to see that now!” or “Man, I’m glad I decided to go see the new superhero movie!”. So without further ado, here is my article and review of Neruda.

If I am correct in thinking this, this review will mark the first time that I have reviewed a certain director twice for this series. Neruda is directed by Pablo Larrain, who also directed The Club which I reviewed earlier this year. He is also the director of Jackie which appeared in the 2016 Filmsploision, as well as directing No which is one of my favorite films of the 2010s. So I guess in terms of Art House Assholeyness, Pablo Larrain is the most established Art House director on the Podcast. Or at least I have made him this way. So you are welcome Mr. Larrain. Of the four people that read/listen to the podcast, you are well known around these parts. You’re are welcome.

Neruda was the second film, and second biopic, made by Larrain in 2016, the second being Jackie. And like how Jackie is an unconventional biopic, Neruda is the same way. Neruda is about poet Pablo Neruda, kind of. The film follows Pablo Neruda just after World War II and how the Chilean Government hunted him down for joining the Communist Party. That being said, Pablo Neruda really isn’t the main focus of the film. Rather the film follows more so the investigator hunting Neruda down, played by Gael Garcia Bernal. And the film begins to revolve and the investigator and his motivations and life story. It kind of evolves into being a cat and mouse kind of story. Except the mouse doesn’t give a shit and the cat isn’t really all that great at finding the mouse.

Despite the fact that Larrain is the most reviewed Art House director of the podcast, I wouldn’t say that I am a big fan of his work. I like his work but I never find myself seeking his work out. The Club I thought was kind of mediocre and Jackie I thought was just alright, and cards on the table again No is one of the best films I’ve ever seen. But the only constant in Larrain’s filmography that the performances in his work are always great. Where his cinematography and writing will come and go with his work, the performances he can get out of an actor is Larrain’s strong point. The two leads in the film give knockout performances and it is a really great to see Larrain work with Gael Garcia Bernal again. Gael Garcia Bernal is a great actor but Larrain has this ability to push him to his absolute best.

While watching the film I started to think that Neruda might be Larrain’s most mature work. And as I continued it became more clear that wasn’t true and that title belongs to Jackie, it’s better than some of his other work, but it isn’t the most mature. Then as it continued I started to think that where Neruda might not be Larrain’s most mature work, it might be his most complex work. Then I remembered the complexity of No and it became obvious that Neruda isn’t his most complex work either. And once the film ended it came to me that this film isn’t Larrain’s best of anything. This is the most middle of the road film that Larrain has made. It isn’t as bad as The Club, but it certainly isn’t great. It is just average. Extremely, extremely average.

I guess if you are a fan of Larrain’s other work, you might want to check this out. If you are a fan of the poet Pablo Neruda and want to see a film on that subject, you might want to check this out. If you are a fan of Gael Garcia Bernal, maybe check it out although he has better work out there. Other than that, I honestly wouldn’t recommend this to other people. I think it’s okay and I don’t regret watching it. But I honestly don’t think I’m going to think about this film ever again.

About the Author:

Henry Jarvis is the youngest member of the Reel Nerds. His favorite films include Space Jam and Dude, Where’s My Car? and Lawrence of Arabia. He enjoys those pretentious art house films that Ryan hates. He sees a lot of movies! Honestly more than he should. He replaces his lack of social skills and meaningful friendships with his love of cinema! He’s also crying while he writes this biography for himself. His favorite directors are Andrei Tarkovsky, David Fincher, and David Lean.
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