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Far from a conventional biopic, Steven Soderberghs film about Che Guevara is a fascinating exploration of the revolutionary as icon. Daring in its refusal to make the socialist leader into an easy martyr or hero, Che paints a vivid, naturalistic portrait of the man himself (with a stunning, Cannes-award-winning performance by Benicio del Toro), from his overthrow of the Batista dictatorship, to his 1964 United Nations trip, to the end of his short life. Originally released … More >>

Che

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5 Comments
  1. … that Soderburg glossed over Che’s antics in Cuba after the ousting of Batista. Then he’d have to show the evil butcher in all his glory presiding gleefully over the summary executions of thousands of the Cubans he and his murderous boss, Castro, had “liberated”. The only tragedy is that Che didn’t die in a motorcycle wreck long before.

    I’m wondering when Soderberg is going to do his “fair” treatments of other sympathetic figures like Josef Stalin and Pol Pot. Buying this movie only puts more money in Soderberg’s pockets and encourages more movies of this sort.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  2. I was really excited to watch the Che movies. Knowing that Benicio Del Toro was playing the Title character and that it was a two part movie, I felt really excited. Then I watched it… and I had to keep hitting myself to keep myself awake. It is that slow. Granted, Del Toro does a great job at playing Guevara, and this movie misses some of the most important stuff in Guevara’s life. The movie is very poorly shot- shot on a Red camera with very little visual thought. 5 minute shots are abundant and drag the movie down greatly. Not even that gorgeous final shot of Part Two could save this movie! I heard that Soderbergh regrets making the movie now, which I am not surprised. THe documentary feel was terrible and wrecked the movie- the movie was ruined by the constant switching to black and white and the interview segments. Even the dialogue sucked too (“Vanilla piss”?????). And worst of all, the movie is so SLOW!!!!! A movie about an extraordinary man like Che Guevara should be exciting and adventurous, not slow and boring. If you want to know a movie about Guevara that’s exciting and does a great job of chronicling his achievements, I suggest watching The Motorcycle Diaries, which was about Guevara’s motorcycle journey across Latin America before he started the revolution. But steer clear of this dreck at all cost. My Spanish Class was falling asleep while watching this, I was not surprised.

    TOTAL:

    Violence: Snore/10

    Bore factor: 10/10

    Snooze: 10000000000/10

    Soderbergh: Should hang it up!!!

    ***Approach with caution***
    Rating: 2 / 5

  3. I was happy to see criterion finally take care of this movie since its been a long road for it to make it to DVD/BLURAY. it does not disappoint and its great to finally be able to watch the movie at ones own pace. quality is excellent even though the film always had a certain amount grain to it. of course the release has great special features being that its a criterion release. they include:

    # New audio commentaries featuring Jon Lee Anderson, author of Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life

    # Making “Che,” a new documentary featuring Soderbergh, producer Laura Bickford, actor-producer Benicio del Toro, and writers Peter Buchman and Ben van der Veen

    # Interviews with participants in and historians of the Cuban Revolution and Che’s Bolivian campaign

    # End of a Revolution, a short documentary made in Bolivia right after Che’s execution in 1967

    # “Che” and the Digital Cinema Revolution, an original video piece

    # Deleted scenes

    # Theatrical trailer

    its a long movie, but at home it can be watched in its 2 parts or spread out even more. Che is highly recommended for soderbergh fans as well. he has been on quite a roll lately. finally, at the films core is del toro. he is excellent and really should have been nominated for an academy award.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. If you know nothing of Ernest Guevara I would advise reading Jon Lee Anderson’s book before viewing the film. One of the best films ever made. Too bad it was not released on a wider scale in theaters in the States. A damn shame!
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. Steven Soderbergh created one of those movies that is lucky to have been made at all — a four-hour-plus biopic of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara.

    But like most biographical movies, it’s something of a mixed bag. Visually atmosphere and low-key in style, the two halves of “Che” focus on pivotal slices of Guevara’s life, with an amazing lead performance by Benicio Del Toro as the titular revolutionary. Unfortunately, it’s also a very slow-moving affair that brushes past some of the more unsavory facets of Che Guevara’s life and personality… and ironically many of the positive ones.

    Part 1: In the 1960s, Guevara (Benicio Del Toro) is in New York City for a UN conference, being interviewed by a US reporter about his viewpoints as a guerilla leader and revolutionary. Then the narrative jumps back a decade to when he and others (including Fidel Castro) consider the many injustices over in Cuba and start planning for a revolution. Despite being Argentinian by birth, Che follows them to Cuba and joins the guerilla revolution.

    But despite his start as a medic, Che began showing talents in other areas, and becomes a leader of the guerilla outlaws in the Cuban countryside. He grapples with his own ill health (asthma), the loss of his compatriots and the attacks from the military, which also threaten some of the non-revolutionaries — and as time goes on, their revolution gained power and notice, and began the ultimate battle for control of Cuba.

    Part 2: Later in life, Guevera comes to Bolivia disguised as a bespectacled bald businessman, with the intent of fighting another revolution in that country. But this revolution doesn’t go as well as the Cuban one (for Che): shortages in food, internal betrayal, and one of their contacts (Franka Potente) goofs up royally. As Guevera’s health deteriorates, the Bolivian army and the CIA take measures to quash his guerilla forces…

    Rather than the usual biographical movie format, Steven Soderbergh approaches “Che” as if he were filming a documentary. There are no scenes of little Che being kicked by a rich guy or melodramatic subplots — it’s quite literally a slice of the pivotal point of Che Guevara’s life, and a 1960s shakycam interview adds to that feeling. As an added note of authenticity, almost all of the dialogue is in Spanish rather than poorly-accented English, giving a you-are-there feel.

    The storyline is rather slow, speeding up gradually as the revolution really heats up… only to slow back down in the second half with Guevera’s decline. Most of the story is devoted to the guerillas staggering through the countryside, living in rough shacks and campsites. Even the landscapes reflect the ascent and descent of Guevera’s power — the first half is crammed with lush, vibrant jungle life, and the second is a washed-out, grey expanse of scrubby brush. Unfortunately, this means that over four hours, the story often drags like a ripped parachute.

    But despite the slowness, each movie climaxes with some revolutionary action. Pinging gunshots, explosions, tanks, tense chases through deserted streets and burning trains all play a part in the harrowing finales of each half, which are all the worst because you know that all this mayhem actually took place.

    Del Toro is, to put it mildly, astonishing as Guevara — not only is he a dead ringer physically (with the right facial hair and clothes), but he exudes a quiet charisma, literate intelligence and power that make you see exactly why someone might follow him if they agreed with his politics. No one else in the story really gets to stand out, but Del Toro simply IS the cast all by himself.

    Yet ironically it’s a piously bland, virtuous portrait of Guevera. Soderbergh wimps out on the cruel, extremist sides of his personality and the regime he helped create; on the other hand, he also brushes over the man’s fierce intellect, his writing, and world interests. It feels like we’re looking at one mirrored facet of a very complex man, and surely more of who he was — the good, the bad AND the ugly — could have been included.

    As with the other Criterion blu-rays, apparently “Che” is getting the same treatment in both regular and blu-ray DVD — audio commentaries by Jon Lee Anderson; a film documentary that talks to Soderburgh, Del Toro and others involved in the production; interviews with people involved in Che’s revolutions; deleted scenes and trailers; and an essay booklet.

    It’s obvious Soderbergh put a lot of heart into producing the raw, realistic “Che,” but his glorification and simplication of a controversial figure drags down his labor of love.
    Rating: 3 / 5

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