Neruda ★★★½


A.V. Club review. Kinda wish Neruda himself barely figured in this, as the stretches that approximate a straight biopic are comparatively turgid. Everything involving the Pirandellian detective who pursues Neruda, on the other hand, positively sings—in large part because García Bernal is confident enough to do virtually nothing, allowing Larraín to sculpt a void of a performance around his classically handsome features. What's more, Larraín and his regular D.P., Sergio Armstrong, have found an arresting, uniquely digital analogue to noir shadows, creating silhouettes that look as if they're encased in crushed velvet. Scenes of Neruda declaiming the glories of Communism, or composing Canto General while in hiding, can't compete with the lush imagery and meta-textual playfulness that dominate the film when he's not around, even though Luis Gnecco deftly sidesteps all the Great Man pitfalls. Half masterpiece, half tolerable.

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