Posted by schnolis on January 19th, 2009 filed in Reviews

CheI saw Che during something advertised as a “Special Roadshow Edition.”   It’s a type of  limited release that shows what is actually two distinct films back to back with a planned intermission.  There were no credits preceeding or trailing either feature.  Instead, the information for the credits was handed out in a printed book that was included in the (somewhat elevated) price of admission.  Dissapointingly, the book contained nothing besides what I suspect would be the running credits of the actual movie.  There was no historical background, no “making of” notes or director or actor interviews, nothing worth reading during the intermission.   It seems odd to go to the trouble of producing such an attractive book and not put any content into it.  

The Argentine is the first half, and covers the successful military takeover of Cuba with Fidel Castro.  The second half, Guerilla, shows the failed attempt at revolution in Bolivia and Che’s ultimate capture and execution.  Symbolically this division is quite powerful and important.  It gives us a comparitive view of the two campaigns, and a pragmatic assesment that things could have gone either way.  Yes, the revolutionaries succeeded in Cuba, but any number of things could have kept that from happening.  The end, of these struggles, though, is always death.  

Che is interesting in that it doesn’t spend much time with the historical stories of the respective struggles.  Each half of the movie simply show us Che in action.  We see him planning, thinking on his feet, taking care of the sick, and living with great honor.  He expects everyone to uphold a certain standard, and in turns encourages and punishes those who don’t.  We get to see what life with Che might have been as one of his soldiers or friends.  It was deeply personal, inspiring andbeautifully played by Benicio del Toro.  

What I liked: The execution scene.  Che dying was all of us dying.  

What I disliked: Part One felt chopped, like it was missing significant chapters.

Rating: 8 of 10

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