Che: The Argentine

by

Director – Steven Soderbergh

Writers – Peter Buchman (screenplay) Ernesto Che Guevara (memoir)

Starring – Benicio Del Toro

Synopsis

In part one of Steven Soderbergh’s biopic we see Che and a band of Cuban exiles (led by Fidel Castro) as they fight the Cuban army and government in order to seize control of the country. Over two years they mobilize an army and break the U.S. friendly regime of dictator Fulgencio Batista. Throughout the film we are shown Che as he travels to the U.S. attending political debates and interviews. Finally there is a short segment at the beginning and end of the film dedicated to Che before the revolution, when he first meets Fidel Castro.

che1

Review

Having not known a great deal about Ernesto or the Cuban revolution before watching this film, I decided to go in with an open mind; utterly believing in the films characters and the events and the way that they played out (if Soderbergh so permitted me to). I think this paid off for me; I was able to enjoy the film for what is and not have political baggage holding my appreciation for it back.

Steven Soderbergh gives a great insight into Che’s life as a revolutionary. Early on we get to grips with his biggest physical weakness; as we follow Che struggling through the Cuban jungle, his voiceover (talking to a reporter) tells us about his frequent asthma attacks. This immediately makes Che as a character more accessible; flawed and therefore human – and well aware of it himself. The character is well rounded (which you would hope for, with it being a biopic and all) – he makes difficult decisions and commands the respect of his fellow Guerrillas because of this. He has a sense of humour; stating in an interview that he would rather face a soldier than a reporter, along with other crackers throughout. He believes in love; letting the reporter know that it is the number one quality that a revolutionary should possess. Over all of this he is commited to doing good and ridding Cuba of its current regime; often before battle he will shout “For homeland or death!” despite being Argentinian.

che2

Steven Soderbergh is not the only one to thank for Che however, with Del Toro delivering a powerful performance in this first installment. He gives the character a feel that you can’t really put your finger on… Sort of like the “X Factor”. Anyway he did a lot of research for this role; speaking to people who knew Che, which I think made his performance feel natural, and personal towards the character, whilst not overpowering.

The cinematography is not quite breathtaking, but the scenery is certainly vibrant and caught well. Battle scenes are dealt with effectively (although there was a ridiculous gag in one of them, which the idiot next to me dutifully laughed at – he also laughed at the Volkswagen advert to give you some idea of his (non)sense of humour), but I never really felt that the rebels were in any sort of peril. Early on, when in Cuba, the film doesnt seem to have much of a sense of direction, moving in the general area of “lets crush the regime”. They get back on track by introducing tactical points that the rebels had to take; which is what they should have started with in the first place if you ask me.

Overall – A solid first half to the biopic, but it felt as though there was more chance of Che dying from an asthma attack than from a bullet. More peril needed.

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2 Responses to “Che: The Argentine”

  1. Snizzle Says:

    is the film in spanish? i assume not cos you never mentioned it but if not is spoken in english with spanish accents?

    also… who is the hot chick in the screen shot with che?!

    • guydavis88 Says:

      It is in Spanish with English subtitles (I would have definately mentioned if not).
      Just some chick, not a lot happens with them, she is just Che’s aid towards the end of the film. Maybe in part two, although he does have a wife and kids.

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