During the late 1980s, Chilean military dictator August Pinochet is forced to call a plebiscite on his presidency, due mainly to international pressure.
The countries' people will decide the future by simply voting yes or no to Pinochet extending his reign another eight years. With the No campaign
severely lacking the resources of the Yes campaign they turn to Rene Saavedra, a young advertising executive, to launch the No campaign. Pablo Larrain's No is equal parts tense, comedic and uplifting in its presentation of something in which many people around the world take for granted - the ability to have an opinion and express it through democracy. While Pablo Larrain's previous efforts also touch on political subject matter, these characters were more passive but with No, Larrain turns his sights on the men responsible for fighting for political change. The first thing that jumps out about No is the aesthestic which is designed to mimic the time period with grainy, 4:3 ratio photography which is very similar to what would be seen on the television. This aesthetic is really effective at enhancing the realism of the film to the point where at times one has to remind themselves that they aren't watching a documentary or
stock footage. While obviously supporting the No movement, the film spends time showing the behind the scenes of both the yes and the no campaigns which helps to build this tension leading up to the vote. Rene Saavedra is a man whose doing this for his wife/girlfriend, his child and his country and while some films would get too wrapped up in his personal story, Larrain stays focused on the ad campaign while subtlely touching on the wear and tear this whole ordeal has on his personal life. Pablo Larrain's No is a great snapshot of an important time period in the history of Chile and with a well designed aesthetic and strong performances, he achieves what he set out to do, create a testament to the men who risked their well being to change their country.
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