Che: Part One (2008)

[Somehow this film slipped through the cracks in my trying to get this blog up to speed. I saw it in August or something like that.]

Che: Part One is – surprise! – the first part of a two-part biography of Che Guevara by Steven Soderbergh, starring Benicio del Toro.

Che Guevara (Benicio del Toro) is a young Argentinian doctor who meets revolutionary thinker Fidel Castro (Demián Bichir). Together they build a guerilla troup of supporters for their cause: to free Cuba from US-friendly dictator Fulgencio Batista.

The acting was very good and the movie was beautifully shot but unfortunately it was also so very boring… And it was damn confusing for people like me who didn’t know the story perfectly already. [I know much of what was going on, but not in any depth.] That’s why I didn’t even bother to watch the second part, despite my admiration of Benicio del Toro.

As I said, the cast was absolutely amazing, especially Benicio del Toro. First of all, he got the advantage to really look like Che, but that’s not all that there’s to it. He perfectly captures Che’s charisma, is rhetoric skills and his determined single-mindedness.

The rest of the cast wasn’t bad either. But what probably struck me most is how many good looking men there were crawling through the forests. [I’m afraid that reality looked differently, but this movie won’t convince me of that. ;)]

But I guess that already points to the problem I had with the film: Everything else seemed to be more interesting than what was actually going on on screen. And I think that I have to blame the script by Peter Buchman for that (unless a whole lot of it ended up on the cutting room floor). The story was jumbled together, most of the characters were never properly introduced and half of the time I wasn’t sure what exactly was going on. It’s one thing to avoid and info dump, but quite another to not give information necessary for the understanding of the plot: There is a middle ground for that.

Also, I thought that the film painted Che maybe in a bit of a too good light – he was so noble and honorary and… I don’t know it just felt like they tried to hide his ruthlessness (and believe me, without ruthlessness [so to say, with ruth] Che would have never achieved what he did achieve) and everything that might compromise his image as an idol. [That’s probably because the whole thing was based on his autobiography.]

Summarising: It would have been a good movie if the script would have delivered what the cast and the look promised. As is, it was more of a mess. A boring one at that.

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