Combustible Celluloid
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With: Gael García Bernal, Alfredo Castro, Antónia Zegerz, Pascal Montero, Luis Gnecco, Marcial Tagle, Néstor Cantillana, Jaime Vadell
Written by: Pedro Peirano, based on a play by Antonio Skármeta
Directed by: Pablo Larraín
MPAA Rating: R for language
Language: Spanish, with English subtitles
Running Time: 118
Date: 15/02/2013

No (2012)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Vote 'Yes' for 'No'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

One of the Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Language film, Pablo Larraín's No tells the story of an advertising man, René Saavedra (Gael García Bernal), who is hired to cook up a campaign to defeat the supposedly undefeatable Augusto Pinochet in Chile's 1988 referendum. Larraín paints the film with a smeary, smudgy color palette, presumably to capture the look of a 1988-era VHS video camcorder, and thereby steeping the viewer in an extremely vivid feel of time and place.

Screenwriter Pedro Peirano does a fine job of pitching the film both at Americans and people of a younger generation that may not be aware of these events, but also pays tribute to those that do remember. The drawback is that newcomers might not pick up on the film's subtle comic rhythms and probably will not laugh quite as often as the filmmakers may have intended, but the upbeat tone can still inspire smiles.

Larraín includes vintage clips of Richard Dreyfuss, Jane Fonda, and Christopher Reeve, all of whome did their bit for the "No" campaign.

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