No

No ★★★½

I think my hatred of Gale Garcia Bernal is starting to wane. After last year's amazing The Loneliest Planet and now No, I think I can put Mammoth, The Science of Sleep, and Babel behind me.

Bernal plays René Saavedra, a formerly exiled advertising man (and the son of a political prisoner), who returns to Chile and ends up working on the 'No' campaign to unseat Pinochet. There are many times in this pseudo-satirical political comedy where it feels like Wag The Dog and those are definitely the best parts of the film. Where it falters, in my mind, is when it tries to inject a sentimental side of things from Saavedra's relationships. We do not spend enough time in Saavedra's personal life to really get a feel for his disconnected family and how the exile impacted them and whenever the film dipped into those waters, it slowed to a crawl.

No is at its best when it is focusing on the humour, which comes about from the campaign itself and the 80's aesthetic everything is wrapped in. There is a a lot of fun there and even the serious political commentary that shows up throughout those sections of the film, again, relating specifically to the campaign, work quite well, so it all comes together for a rather fun and informative watch, even with the rather gaping flaw I mentioned above. I also had to knock off a quarter of a star for some bad grammar in certain sections of the subtitles; that kind of stuff drives me nuts!

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