Che: Part Two

Film, Drama
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars
Last month we suggested that you should try to watch as one four-hour behemoth Steven Soderbergh’s two-part essay on the vagaries of violent, class-based struggle as seen through the eyes of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara. While there’s a richness to be gleaned from experiencing both parts back-to-back, these films function perfectly well as separate entities. Once attuned to the fact that Soderbergh has little interest in presenting Che (a remarkable, hubris-free performance from Benicio del Toro) as a benevolent folk hero or framing his struggle within the crowd-pleasing strictures of a ten-a-penny Hollywood biopic, the film becomes much more digestible, enjoyable, and even educational.

The second part documents Che’s failed 1966 attempt to ‘free’ Bolivia and there are some beautiful moments where Soderbergh pulls back from the action to show Che as a man hungry – almost, as the ending hints, to the detriment of his mental health – to right the world’s ills. If there’s a problem, it’s that the film at times feels too academic, and nods to the source material (Che’s ‘The Bolivian Diary’) or insights into the mechanics of revolution come at the expense of a more fluid, involving drama. But saying that a film has too much insight is hardly damning.

By: David Jenkins



Release details

Release date:
Friday February 20 2009
128 mins

Cast and crew

Steven Soderbergh
Benicio Del Toro
Lou Diamond Phillips
Franka Potente
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