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September 14, 2009

Che: Part 1 & 2


Director - Steven Soderbergh
Genre - Biography/Drama/History/War

At 4 & half hours, this film which gives you a fly on the wall account on the life of Ernesto 'Che' Guevara and the struggles of a revolution require patience to get through. You may go into this thinking, "Whoopee doo! I'm gonna help myself to some Pringles and feast my eyes on this epic!" You'd be dead wrong. This is in fact so anti-epic and anti-Hollywood it feels as though Soderbergh consciously turned the genre on its head. Whatever traits we envisioned Che should have is displayed on the screen. Selfless, steadfast in his believes and ingrained with a fearless outlook on mortality, Soderbergh's 'Che' is the perfect embodiment of a socialist icon. What makes this film uniquely Soderbergh though is how he never lets legend and myth overcome the representation of Guevara. Reminder: Do not go into this expecting big-assed explosions spiraling up the sky with Guevara's handsome mug out of harm's way smokin' a cigar as well as 40 bad guys. Made using the 'Bolivian Diary' written by Guevara himself as a guide, this is perhaps the most accurate and unadorned cinematic portrayal of a revolutionary hero.

3.5 STARS!

All about Che: Part 1 & 2

4 comments:

edgarchaput said...

I really liked both films, with maybe a bit more love going towards part 1 purely for its aesthetic qualities. The fact that the movie (let's just view this as one single project) doesn't make the Che the historical larger than life was a nice touch. Saying the movie give a 'fly on the wall' account of a little bit of the man's life is correct. See what he did, how he behaved and then judge for yourself. Soderbergh does a great job of not being judgmental himself, which I think is a trap many other directors would have fallen into.

1minutefilmreview said...

Soderbergh is a very interesting director to us. He switches from commercial films to independent spirited ones without sacrificing his artistic vision.

The Ocean trilogy are not your usual summer action flicks yet are still entertaining in a big way. By directing 'Che', he risked the box office clout he attained with the Ocean trilogy.

Selling a 4 & half hours film outside of Bollywood is like committing box office harakiri. This is not something every director would do. Most would not look back once they've reached box office gold.

For Soderbergh to continue making the sort of indie oriented films he is fond of then is really rare and special. Though not one of our top most favorite directors, he is one that we respect.

CavedogRob said...

I'll check them out soon. Soderbergh has proven he can work in big budget commercial films and also produce non-mainstream films though while well made are not always that successful. He still delivers in any situation. Reading your great review however reminded me of the late '60's Richard Fleischer helmed "bio-epic" CHE! with Omar Shariff in the the title role and Jack Palance as Castro! This version is just not seen enough!!

1minutefilmreview said...

Omar Shariff as Che and Jack Palance as Castro!? That's fantastic casting. Two very charismatic personas.

Thanks Rob for bringing this film to our attention. We'll try and see if we can find it.