In 1988, Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet is pressured to hold a public referendum on his presidency’s legitimacy. Opposition leaders urge hotshot advertising executive Rene Saavedra (Garcia Bernal) to spearhead their TV campaign, even though his boss (Castro) advises the Pinochet camp. Instead of pounding Pinochet’s human rights violations, Saavedra crafts a message of hope and optimism. His slogan, “Happiness is Coming,” becomes synonymous with the bloodless revolution that eventually ousts a dictator.
Sourced from Antonio Skarmeta’s play “El Plebiscito,” director Larrain (“Tony Manero”) crafts an engaging, Oscar-nominated drama based on a stunning historical event. The TV spots Saavedra creates are a nice touch, reinforcing the film’s time and place. Garcia Bernal gives a low-key, committed performance as a man more concerned with selling a powerful concept than getting immersed in political ideology. The smart script also allows for some tense moments as Pinochet’s secret police start applying pressure to thwart Saavedra’s transformational campaign. If you enjoy political thrillers, or just great films in general, say yes to “No”!