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No (Blu-ray Review)

14 Jul, 2013 By: John Latchem

Sony Pictures
Box Office $2.34 million
$30.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for strong language.
In Spanish with English subtitles.
Stars Gael García Bernal.

The 1980s for the Chilean people were an era marked by profound pain caused by dictator Augusto Pinochet. No centers on the turbulent year of 1988, when that displeasure coupled with international pressure led to a crucial turning point in that nation’s history. The people were to decide whether to keep Pinochet in power for another eight years or whether they would move toward democracy.

Leaders of the No campaign called upon enterprising advertising executive René Saavedra (portrayed superbly by Gael García Bernal) to help, and he reluctantly obliged. He had a vision, and though his ideas were met with what seemed more like nitpicky negativity than constructive criticism, he persevered and fought for what he believed. Saavedra’s impassioned work on the campaign and his compelling imagery, culminating in a 15-minute spot running counter to the Yes campaign’s commercial, helped lead the No ticket to victory.

In this retelling of history, viewers get an inside scoop on what was going on in the minds of the politicians as well as the Chilean people who had to live with the high-stakes consequences of the vote. Seeing how the majority of Chileans felt that they had already lost, given the system of oppression, was a reminder that citizens of other foreign nations currently share those same sentiments.

The filmmakers do a remarkable job capturing that specific timeframe, to the point where even the quality of the film appears dated. It’s easy to see why No was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.

Special features include a commentary with Bernal and director Pablo Larrain as well as an insightful Q&A with a candid Bernal.

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