Ernesto “Che” Guevara, famous revolutionary, came from an upper middle class environment and dreamt of becoming a doctor before deciding to shoot at people instead. This movie is about the young doctor-to-be going on a road trip with a friend and discovering poverty.
Like a great many European (and European-inspired) movies with a background in social strife, this movie is very plump in its melodramatic accentuation of the rigors of poverty and prejudice. There is no criticism of the hero, who becomes pure and immaculate in preparation of his immolation on the crazy altar of politics.
Ernesto, almost done with his doctoral degree, decides to embark on a road trip with his friend Alberto, a chemist. The two leave with no money and a motorcycle worth as much and will ride from Buenos Aires to Venezuela.
It is the early part of last century, squalor and poverty everywhere, as well as diffident rich people. The duo survives thanks to the stealing and sweettalking of Alberto, and through all sorts of tribulation gets to Peru, where they will become staff of a leper colony.
Ernesto is the saint. He tried to make everyone happy, never lies, is always helpful and encouraging. Contrast this to Alberto, always womanizing, always cheating, always trying to move Ernesto to leave his saintly life.
Not much development is given to any of the characters, who all seem to stem from a Medieval play set in a distant land. So we are led to believe that the same man that ended up killing dozens in the name of a much discredited theory did so only because of his moral fortitude.
If the story was entirely unbelievable, at least the landscapes were great.