Che (Part 1) (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner24/10/2008

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 126 mins

Superbly directed, intriguingly non-traditional biopic with a terrific central performance from Benicio Del Toro.

What's it all about?
Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Che stars Benicio Del Toro as Che Guevara, an idealistic Argentine doctor who is persuaded to join Fidel Castro (Demian Bichir) and his revolutionaries in 1956, in order to fight against the corrupt dictatorship of General Batista. The film follows the revolutionary campaign between 1956, when Che sails to Cuba with Castro, until the success of the Cuban Revolution in 1959.

In addition, the film is framed and intercut with black and white sequences from 1964, when Che was interviewed in New York and gave a speech at the United Nations.

The Good
The film ought to be subtitled The Anatomy of a Revolution, as it goes into painstaking detail as to exactly how Che and Castro won over the hearts and minds of the Cuban people and mobilised them into action. To that effect, Che spends an awful lot of time traipsing around the jungle, to the point where you feel like you've spent three years in the jungle right along with him.

Del Toro is perfectly cast as Che, delivering a charismatic and commanding performance that is utterly compelling and almost certain to land him an Oscar nomination next year. There's also strong support from Bichir as Castro and Catalina Sandino Moreno as Del Toro's future wife, Aleida.

The Great
Soderbergh has said that he deliberately set out to make a biopic without any traditional movie biopic moments. As such, the scenes unfold in understated ways, with very few close-ups and no stirring orchestral score.

That said, it's fascinating to watch the non-traditional versions of the scenes you expect – for example, the only line of dialogue that indicates Che's interest in Aleida comes as a delightful surprise towards the end of the film.

Worth seeing?
In short, Che is a fascinating and engaging drama with an Oscar-worthy central performance from Del Toro. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Che (Part 1) (15)
Che (Part 1) has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 20/10/2017 22:44

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