Reviews of Che
Displaying all 2 reviews
The two part Che, as directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Benicio Del Toro, is a movie that deserves recognition for all kinds of reasons. Che stands out in a crowd of dissapointing 2008 movies but has been commercially and critically neglected in the USA, which has resulted in a sheep like reaction in the rest of the world.
For myself, being both critical of the figure of Guevera and the wrongheaded appropriation and meaningless use of his image on t-shirts and posters, my faith in the qualities of the movie were not particurlarly high. To my surprise, Steven Soderbergh seems to share my point of view in all of this because he’s made exactly the kind of movie I like to see. Disregarding the big emotional setups, or trying to shoe in humanizing (but totally subjective) elements from Guevera’s private life to make him more accessible for an audience, Soderbergh instead concentrates on the ideas of the man and the way he implemented them. That being said, the net result of both parts is a strange melancholy feeling: not in a romantic movie ending kind of way but in realising that for Guevara more things went wrong than right in his life, and mostly because of the kind of person he was: strict, dogmatic, and uncomprimising. He may have ended up a martyr of sorts and inspired both questionable and noble causes, but the movie shows the cost without the glamour.
It’s hard to make a movie that deals objectively with a historical figure, especially someone like Che Guevara where myth, politics and facile posturing could surely be a perfect recipe for a crap movie. But Soderbergh once again proves how good he can be as a director, because all the choices he has made are exquisite. He keeps the dialogue in spanish as befitting revolutionaries operating in the Southern hemisphere, uses aspect ratios (widescreen ’scope for part 1, 1.85:1 for part 2) and filming methods to both differentiate and enhance aspects of the two stories, and observes the action without editorializing the viewers emotions. Each half focuses on a different revolution, both fundamentally the same in theory but vastly different in outcome.
Che will in the coming years either serve as a reminder of what movies can achieve when they go beyond catering for focus groups or will prove to be the end of the road for how far directors are willing to go in ignoring audience expectations. Disheartening at this point are the shrugged shoulders and overall critical reaction of established critics for Che. I guess Soderbergh’s misgivings after the fact (in this interview he even goes as far to say he wished he hadn’t made the movie) are in part a reaction to that, besides the financial problems inherent both in the making and marketing. I believe Che is a monumental achievement, and one that both Soderbergh and Del Toro can be immensely proud of.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
Part 1 Review:
This is filmmaking at its finest. This is an absolutely gorgeous movie and it has jaw-dropping scenes throughout the entire run-time. I couldn’t take my eyes off the film because of the sheer brilliance in the cinematography. The scenery, the way they edited the film to give it a swift pace, and the attention to detail in the fight scenes made this an joy to watch.
There is however, a downside to all of that beautiful camera work. The story is told in a satisfying way, but there is absolutely no emotional attachment to any of these characters. You never really get to see their human side, aside from the momentary look into Che’s moral code. Other than that you could care less about the people in the film, and they are gone almost as soon as the appear. This is really my only gripe with the storytelling at all. It’s edited brilliantly and jumps between the actual revolution in Cuba and Che’s speech at the U.N. about the revolution. It also has audio from an interview with Che which is also implemented well. It all is told with precision, I just really wanted to get to know these characters but the film is surprisingly emotionally dry.
Despite the drawbacks this is a must see for the simple fact that it could be Soderbergh’s masterpiece if only for the cinematography. Even with a 2 hour run time it got me excited to spend another 2 hours in part two, which I will be reviewing as soon as I get to do so.Part 2 review:
This is the more somber, and actually more thin, installment of Soderbergh’s “Che”. I really enjoyed it and it brought the same magnificent cinematography that was in part one, but it suffered from the same emotionally deprived story, and in this one it seemed to me that there was more story to be told in this installment then what we actually get. In part one they had segments from other aspects of Che’s life and these weren’t present in this installment. Even without those it is a vastly interesting story and one I do not regret spending 4 hours with.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.