Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ryan Watches A Motion Picture #52: Che: Part One (2008)

Having just visited Cuba, I suddenly felt the need to learn more about the history of its world-changing revolution. After some reading and some documentary viewing, I gave Soderbergh's big Che biopic a look. It's a double whammy since there's a lot of ground to cover, and was released in two honkin' parts.

Che: Part One is partially told as a broken narrative - while disorienting at first, once you get a sense of the three or four timelines explored in Che's life, it doesn't jerk you around too harshly. Shot in a documentary style, it lets the viewer make sense of the film's personalities and narrative on their own with little exposition or clear judgement, for the most part. The only place where it clearly takes a stance, as far as I can tell, is with Che himself. Che has, as you very likely know, become a legend. An icon. As a result, moreso even than Fidel Castro, it's pretty hard to tell where the real story is and where the myth and romanticism has been added. Soderbergh's film, at least in part one, presents a Che that's idealistic, intellectual, and pure of intention. That's certainly how he's been remembered, but I was hoping to see something in terms of flaws. I suppose any he might have had have been lost to history, and anything added would be a wild guess that'd serve little purpose in the end.

So: Che: Part One suffers from a flatness typical of newer Soderbergh films, but managed to keep me interested. I like Benicio Del Toro a lot, despite The Wolfman.

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