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Toronto: Chris has seen Soderbergh's epic two-parter... CHE starring Benicio!

Hey folks, Harry here... Are you not dying of curiosity to see exactly what Soderbergh has done with the story of CHE? Here we have a figure in history that is considered as both Hero & Arch-Villain - all dependent upon perspective. And boy, can the sides argue Che. No matter what he's a fascinating figure in history worthy of an amazing film, and it seems that is what Soderbergh has give us. Here ya go...

Hi. This is my first review for AICN. Living in Toronto, I don't get the opportunities to see movies before they come out. But since I got the chance to here, and strongly felt I needed to share my thoughts about it, I wanted to send you this heartfelt review. Hope you use it. You can credit me as 'CM1986'. Thanks. --- The past two nights, I had the pleasure of being a part of the first North American audience to see Steven Soderbergh's two-part meditation (to be certain, this is NO biopic) on the career of Ernest "Che" Guevera. Introduced both times by the director, producer (Laura Bickford), and star (Benicio Del Toro), 'Che (Parts 1 [The Argentine] & 2 [Guerilla])' is a film(s) certain to divide critics and audiences alike, a sentiment echoed ever since its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. On one hand, many will see this a grand, sweeping achievement of artistic and technical proportions, while on the other, some will see it as an epic, inaccessible failure. You can firmly put me in the camp of the former, as in my humble opinion, the film(s) are a masterpiece of scope and vision. Without going much into plot or the ubiquitous "personal connection" I have to the material, all I will say is that I went through my obligatory Che Guevara phase as a youth around the same time Soderbergh's 'Traffic' (a film I still rank near or at the top of the best films of the 2000s) came out, and ever since then, the notion of Benicio Del Toro inhibiting the role he was born to play has been something of a dream project for me. And, in finally getting the opportunity to see the picture, my expectations were quite high (tempered, though, by the mixed Cannes reaction). However, as I do with most 'auteur projects', I put a lot of stock into how the director himself wanted the audience to view the film. In this case, Soderbergh had previously expressed something like how this was "an unconventional narrative that is not necessarily meant to show you how this man came to be who he is, but rather, who is he is and what is was like to be around such a figure". And, my friends, this is the exact context one needs to keep in mind when watching both parts of 'Che' -- unconventional, and not about how or why, but who. I won't go too much into specific scenes or give any spoilers, but here are some of my thoughts... 'The Argentine' and 'Guerilla' are perfect composites, each entirely different in style and tone from the other. 'The Argentine' boasts a narrative (though not your classic one) with an upwards trajectory. Knowing, how we do, that Che and Castro's Cuban Revolution succeeded, Soderbergh accordingly instills the first film with a running current of strong optimism. The lush, richly colorized, hyper-realist textures of his jungle and Cuban town scenes are reminiscent of 'Apocolypse Now' at its best, only here they provide a much-needed warm sentiment that this is a battle the rebels CAN and WILL win -- as in their sacrifices are not all for nothing. On a side note, the cinematography that conveys this in 'The Argentine' is so breathtaking, that it should be one of the film's few indisputed locks for an Oscar nomination. In 'Guerilla', however, we know this time that his Bolivian mission is doomed, and as a result, there is an ongoing sense of impending doom. The Bolivian jungle is bare and desolate compared to Cuba, the color in the shots are drained, and from these surroundings alone, it is clear from the outset that failure is certain. Whereas the first film was warm and inviting, Soderbergh makes sure that the second one is cold and bleak. The differences are like night and day, and Soderbergh's directorial choices in separating the two parts, not only thematically and narratively, but visually, are key in them working as a whole. While 'The Argentine' chronicles a rise, thanks in large part to Che's revolutionary spirit, 'Guerilla' documents a fall, due to those very same traits. The centerpiece in each film is, of course, Benicio Del Toro's Che. Like the films in general, reaction to his performance has been split, with half of the critics calling it magnificently understated, and the rest calling it downright vacant. Again, I will go with the first group on this. As I'd said earlier, this film is a meditation, not a conventional biopic. Therefore, it isn't filled with your typical set-ups and payoffs, conflicts and resolutions, dramatic monologues, etc. So, Del Toro essentially plays it straight, giving a performance in the same vein as his Oscar-winning turn in 'Traffic'. Great actors show, don't tell, and here, it is all in his eyes, his expressions, his movements, the things he doesn't say, the lack of close-ups, etc. Consequently, one gets the idea they are actually watching Che Guevara, not an actor playing him, which is how I felt throughout such straightforward, overdone attempts as Will Smith's Muhammad Ali, Jamie Foxx's Ray, and Joaquin Phoenix's Johnny Cash. In fact, I put this performance, though entirely different in style, on the same level of overall effectiveness as Denzel Washington's Malcolm X, another instance of where the actor WAS his real-life counterpart, not simply imitating him. This notion is most prevalent in the brilliant, striking black-and-white sequences that are intercut throughout 'The Argentine', with Che speaking in front of the UN. It is here where Del Toro really lets loose in the role, more so than any other part in either picture, as he rips into his fellow delegates for allowing the influence of American Imperialism to corrupt them. Che is at his most confident and outgoing here, and thus so is Del Toro. As with the film's cinematography, I think an acting nomination for Del Toro should be a lock (more likely for 'The Argentine' than 'Guerilla'), though I think it is doubtful he will win -- hey, I can't think of many actors who have taken home even ONE Oscar for a purely foreign-speaking role (as he did in 'Traffic'), let alone two, which would be the case here if he got it for this. Aside from the picture's stellar direction and mesmerizing star performance, 'Che (Parts 1 & 2)' also notably succeed in two key areas: their supporting turns, and their musical scores. In 'The Argentine' especially, Demián Bichir's effort as Fidel Castro is commendable. Though Javier Bardem was initially considered, I think his famous presence would have been a distraction. This Bichir fellow not only looks just like Castro, but he has his mannerisms down to the letter, and he provides a great charismatic foil to Del Toro's subdued Che. Also, in both films, even the somewhat-anonymous rebels and guerillas (Franka Potente of 'Run Lola' run included) are effective. They are given some good dialogue to work with, often humorous at times, which consistently kept the audience laughing late into both heavy efforts. In fact, I found myself actually growing quite attached to some of them, although many will just dismess them as men with beards in green fatigues. Finally, in regards to the music, each film is again differentiated by unique scores, with the first featuring pounding latin drums and an ascending piano pattern, and the second featuring a Spanish guitar and a dissonant electronic reverb (similar to what he used in 'Traffic') -- both themes instrumental in keeping us on the edge of our seats. All of this is not to say the film is not without its fair share of flaws, although I really think it depends on what you are looking for in the picture in the first place that will primarily dictate what those flaws are. Listen, some people are going to flat-out dislike the movie, or be disappointed by it. 'The Argentine' and 'Guerilla' are a difficult combined four-and-a-half hours, no doubt about it. For instance, my girlfriend thought it, and I quote, "sucked" -- "too violent", "too sad", "not enough story". And that is because, straight up, 'Che (Parts 1 & 2)' is a bold, risky take on a subject matter that is not only sensitive to many, but that countless people have high expectations for. So, understandably, perhaps they demand a 'safe' take on it -- not some daring experiment. But I am a filmgoer who has a lot of faith in a proven director's vision, especially one as talented as Steven Soderbergh, and I am also one who gets excited by the prospect of seeing something DIFFERENT on screen. Not necessarily 'different' for the sake of being 'different' (I can't stand to pretentious, post-modern, artsy takes on things), but 'different' as in daring. And what some people will surely deem in the end as 'boring', I am going to go out on a limb and call this film(s) 'different', and in as good a way as possible. This is only one man's opinion, but a viewpoint I am sure will be shared by a lot of you out there once you see it for yourselves. So, in closing, I have to say that, entirely from my own perspective, 'Che (Parts 1 & 2)' is a success, and an accomplishment that Steven Soderbergh and Benicio Del Toro can proudly hang their hats on. Neither 'The Argentine' or 'Guerilla' will break any box-office records, nor sweep the Awards season, but clearly, that is not what the duo was aiming for here. What they were going for was resolute, contemplative, defiant ode to the resolute, contemplative, defiant icon that Che Guevara was. And on those terms, they have succeeded admirably. Hope you all will enjoy this as much as I did. Chris

Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 11, 2008, 9:56 p.m. CST

    Looking forward to this film

    by banville

    very much.

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 10:08 p.m. CST

    Now that is a proper review.

    by gringostar

    God job mate!

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 10:12 p.m. CST

    obligatory Che Guevara phase

    by JohnnyRicoHatesBugs

    I guess I missed that phase.

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 10:12 p.m. CST

    It's screening again tomorrow...

    by BrooseTheScharuk Ryerson. Both parts back to back. I tried to get tix but all gone. Boooooo!

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 10:14 p.m. CST

    Next from Soderbergh "Stalin: the Early Years"

    by Charlie_Allnut

    Followed by the more comedic "Stalin: The Purge! (Or 30 million dead and counting)"

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 10:14 p.m. CST

    Viva Revolucion--somewhere else

    by King Kull

    So we'll all watch this dreck, go out and vote for Obama, and pretty soon the USA will be like Cuba. We'll all be eating octopus, selling our blood on the blackmarket and running scams like Tony Montana in Scarface. Only there'll be no place to float our rubber rafts when it comes time to escape this "socialist paradise." One question: What is it about Hollywood assholes of a certain ilk and their fascination with commie fascists?

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 10:15 p.m. CST

    Excellent, excellent review.

    by MetalMickey

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 10:21 p.m. CST

    Then the Romantic Drama: "Adolph and Eva"

    by Charlie_Allnut

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 10:23 p.m. CST

    This will be interesting.

    by Banzai Rootskibango

    No mention of any political bias in either direction...thought that was odd...

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 10:29 p.m. CST

    Good review, but a question for the reviewer:

    by IAmJack'sUserID

    How do you feel about Che as a person? As a guerilla? As a political figure? And how do these movies address it's own opinion of the man? If you feel one way, does it attempt to make you feel another way? Does it glorify the man, or villianize him, although I think the latter is more improbable in this regard. Or does it paint an impartial picture and invite you to make your own decision?

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 10:37 p.m. CST

    HorrorWeen IS legit

    by master bitchfist

    sigh. i'm working on a movie with Joe Estevez in it right now. YES. He did direct HorrorWeen.

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 10:38 p.m. CST

    Thanks for kind words!

    by CM1986

    To gringostar and MetalMickey -- thanks for the more-than-kind words on the review! To Banzai Rootskibango -- I don't know, obviously the movie tries to show both sides, but I think it is pretty objective for the most part. Sure, it has all the requisite bits on "American imperialism" and its obviously tilted a bit in Che's direction (since he is side we're watching), but the opinion of the opposition is thoroughly included in each. In all, the two films are actually a bit light on political bias, which I'm sure a lot of people might end up complaining about. Just my opinion though.

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 10:41 p.m. CST


    by Banzai Rootskibango to see you on here dude. I'm actually glad to hear your response on the political ideology side of the project. <P> "Pretty objective" sounds good to me...and I don't mind hearing one side as long as they attempt to show you the opposing view as well. <P> Nice review guy...can't wait to see it. Cheers.

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 10:43 p.m. CST

    To IAmJack'sUserID

    by CM1986

    When I was a kid I loved Che for all the wrong reasons, but now that I'm older and wiser (I hope), I see him for what he was: a rebel -- entirely partisan, stubborn, and ultimately misguided (without Fidel's political savvy) in terms if his notion of revolution, but still, incredibly involving and romantic as a figure. It by NO MEANS glorifies him, but also doesn't outright villainize him. To answer your question, I really think it paints a neutral view, and as you can see, it has been getting a crazy mixed reaction because of it. Really up to you guys to decide. I think I enjoyed the picture most for its artistic and technical achievements, way more so than its thematic ones.

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 10:45 p.m. CST

    Why I loved this movie...

    by CM1986

    Just to make clear for future posts: no, I don't "idolize" Che, or necessarily agree with the man's political beliefs. If anything, my love for this movie comes from HOW it was made, not necessarily WHAT it was about.

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 10:50 p.m. CST

    Banzai Rootskibango

    by CM1986

    Thanks for the post. I honestly think anyone here looking for any political ideology will be disappointed. This is really a 'process' picture. It kind of just shows you what happens, not why it happens. People have their opinions, but that is pretty much that, and what happens in the movie is based on how history subsequently worked out. All the best, enjoy the movie when you see it!

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 10:58 p.m. CST

    TOO CHE!!!

    by BringingSexyBack

    Great review and thanks for the followup.

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 11:03 p.m. CST

    should be cool

    by Sasquatch-The Legend of Bigfoot

    Soderbergh is always interesting. I wish he would collaborate with the Coen's on a bigfoot movie.

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 11:05 p.m. CST

    Thank you, CM1986. Glad you got to see it...

    by IAmJack'sUserID

    ...and thanks for the review and answer to the followup.

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 11:12 p.m. CST

    Thanks CM1986

    by Herewereyouwish

    Absolutely fantastic review. Cannot wait to see this film, fell in love with Del Toro back when The Usual Suspects came out, glad to see talent surviving.

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 11:23 p.m. CST

    YES CM1986!

    by BadMrWonka

    CM1986, GREAT review man. so jealous you got to see this.<p>this line really sums up what we all here at AICN should support:<p>"But I am a filmgoer who has a lot of faith in a proven director's vision, especially one as talented as Steven Soderbergh, and I am also one who gets excited by the prospect of seeing something DIFFERENT on screen."<p>we may not have a lot of faith in anything else. but faith in the magic of cinema is why we spend so much time here, instead of reading fucking Entertainment Weekly. we love movies, and we love anyone breaking new ground. I'll bend over backwards to say a good word about a filmmaker doing something innovative, even if it's a partial or virtual failure. and in Soderbergh's case, you don't have to bend at all, just be open to what he's trying to do, since he's one of our generations truly great filmmakers.

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 11:26 p.m. CST

    Is it officially gonna be 2 films?

    by Six Demon Bag

    At first I was disappointed when i heard it would be 2 rather than 1, but it sounds like they might complement each other quite nicely.

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 11:29 p.m. CST

    More than just a T-shirt Icon...

    by Six Demon Bag

    hopefully this film(s) will help educate the many people wearing the shirts simply as a fashion statement

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 11:35 p.m. CST

    Che Guevara phase

    by bk-whopper

    Meh its funny how the people who actually have to live under communism aren't as impressed with it as western college kiddies with their Che Guevara and Soviet hammer and sickle T-shirts, and Red star of China fashion tote bags

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 11:41 p.m. CST

    "Che Guevara phase"

    by CM1986

    That is why it is called "phase"... a "youth"ful one at that...

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 11:41 p.m. CST

    Overheard at Hot Topic...

    by Thrillho77

    "Did you hear they're making a movie based on this shirt!?!?!" <p> "Wow, Hollywood's running out of ideas..."

  • Sept. 11, 2008, 11:45 p.m. CST


    by BadMrWonka

    actually the stars on the Chinese flag are gold, not red...<p>but I get your point that you're a douchebag.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 12:09 a.m. CST

    Che was a fucking piece of shit

    by GilbertRSmith

    He looks great on a T-Shirt, I'll give you that, but he was a sadist who wrote and talked at length about the pleasure he derived from making other people suffer. There are so many real heroes out there. Nelson Mandela, Norman Borlaug, whose research has saved an estimated one billion lives, and you are shitting in their cereal to worship fucks like Che and Charles Manson. If you want a brown-skinned militant revolutionary, at least have the human decency to go with Pancho Villa (who was a warmonger, but an actual revolutionary and not a sexual sadist). You can't worship a monster because he looks cool on a t-shirt, you can't base your personal politics on Hot Topic variety fashion. Fuck Che in his commie ass.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 12:47 a.m. CST

    Che as a villain

    by Toonol

    He may be a bad guy; but sometimes good movies can be made about bad people. I'm the last guy to support a commie murderer; but it can still be a fascinating study, watching what makes somebody head down that path. As long as the film doesn't glorify it, that is.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 12:52 a.m. CST

    "Che was a piece of shit"

    by ebonic_plague

    Yet Ollie North has his own TV show.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 1:05 a.m. CST

    I agree ebonic

    by Dirk Shocker

    Somebody should do a proper Pancho Villa epic to forget about the Antonio Banderas' version ... and yeah, Che was a piece of shit although I like the director.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 1:10 a.m. CST

    Stalin II: The Rise of the Pooty-Poot-Poot

    by PirateEmery

    $5 says that the old USSR is brought back by Comrade Putin before the end of the year.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 1:14 a.m. CST

    Movies that Make Bad People Look Good

    by PirateEmery

    The first movie of the kind that comes to mind is "Motorcycle Diaries." And then I realized who that movie was about and I started to notice a pattern...

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 1:18 a.m. CST

    Hey sasquatch...

    by menstrual_blitz

    ...are you saying that because you heard about a coen/Soderbergh project, or are you just crazy about bigfoot?

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 1:22 a.m. CST

    bush 2: "osama and I are business partners"

    by ironic_name

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 1:28 a.m. CST

    CLI CHE!

    by ironic_name

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 1:40 a.m. CST

    If it doesn't include any of Che's actual murders...

    by The Kusabi's not a wholly accurate portrayal and as such is worthless. If Soderburgh was concerned about authenticity he would have shown Che personally executing a 14 year old boy prisoner, before opening fire on the other prisoners who were shocked and angered at what they'd just seen. THAT would be giving you the measure of the man. But I suppose for Soderburgh, the point is hero worship, besides which I bet there'd be riots at the cinema if there was such a scene because that's what Che lovers are like.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 1:46 a.m. CST

    Emery, 2008?

    by VegasRon

    I'll take that wager.<p> 2009 was what I said 2 years ago and I'm sticking to it. Oh, and Georgia, stay out of my NATO, I don't want to go to war over your nowhere nation.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 1:47 a.m. CST


    by VegasRon

    Great review, glad to hear it's political neutral, I really hate historical films with an agenda.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 1:58 a.m. CST

    Props to the reviewer for an in depth analysis...

    by The Eskimo

    ...but I will be surprised if this is any good. Two things Che did well was to change an ideology and sell a lot of t-shirts. Might as well make an Ain't it Cool movie. This should be a straight biography or nothing at all, cause the actual ramifications of Che's guirilla movement is way skewed in pop culture history. I bet 99% of the people who sport his face on their shirt have no idea what he actually accomplished.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 2:04 a.m. CST

    I am not pleased with the lack of cool news

    by Stengah


  • Sept. 12, 2008, 2:08 a.m. CST


    by Olsen Twins_Fan

    Based on his user tag it appears that this reviewer is 22 years old. If that is the case, when was his youthful Che phase - 2 years ago? I will disregard this review until a grownup sees it, thank you.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 2:41 a.m. CST

    ebonic_plague Olie North did not order, or

    by StraightToHell

    personally execute man and women because they did not agree with his ideology. Nobody is going to argue that politics is often a dirty and bloody business. But I seriously doub that North, even if he was doing shit that he knew before-hand could result in people being killed, actually took pleasure in it like Che HIMSELF had admitted to in his writings. There is a difference between a soldier and a psychopath. And time and time again, all of the socialist leaders and "revolutionaries" have proven themselves to be nothing more than power hungry monsters. Hitler, Stallin, Mussolini, Chaushesku, Kim Jung, Castro, Chaves, Puttin (who is well on his way to putting Mother Russia back together). Every single one of these monsters spoke of liberating their people, and then ended up dehumanising them and destroying them. And say what you will about North, at least the guy was not interested in getting his fellow countrymen killed and tortured, which Che and all of the others I've mentioned had little problem with. Dictators do not give a shit about their own people, despite of what they say. If they did, they would not impose their dictatorial ways on their own countrymen. And take it from someone who was born and lived in USSR for many years before moving to US. All of the wonder myths about the beauty of socialist healthcare system, equal pay. equal this and equal that, all result in people who have to drink themselves to death (just check the life expectancy statistics in Russia) just to make their life bearable. That being said, I don't believe that you can't make an ieresting, even brilliant films about someone who was a terribly destructive person. Look at Scarface? Granted, Tony Montana only killed rivaled drug dealers, and would have never murdered kids and women, but he was still a killer who was doing illegal shit. Brilliant movie. Same with Raging Bull. The man was an abusive animal in the movie and even worse in real live (he kicked his pregnant wife in the stomach one time until she aborted). Again, a masterpiece. So, you can make a compelling movie about a character who was a monster to others. And with Soderberg at the helm, I can't wait to see it. The guy is nothing if not daring and inventive. Whenever anybody says that the guy has gone mainstream, or doesn't take chances anymore, have you guys seen Bubble?

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 2:43 a.m. CST

    Agree with BadMrWonka, I do.

    by IAmJack'sUserID

    He's right fucking on about movie magic. I had one of the shittiest days ever, a story of epic sadness and defeat, and Last Crusade is helping me a bit with alleviating that pain. Granted tomorrow I will wake up and the full shitty shittiness of my life will hit me full shitty force, but if I can forget for a night and find myself pulled into a fictional world for a bit, everything is fine.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 3:01 a.m. CST

    Great review?

    by King_Knut

    Where can I find one? This pandering pap wasn't it. "Great actors show, don't tell" - OK, so the actor decides not to follow the script? Knob off. Talking of Benicio "inhibiting" the role: even without the amusing Freudian slip, have you seen footage of Che? By the sounds of his "low-key" performance, Benicio is nothing like him. If you want to watch a seriously good Che film, watch The Motorcycle Diaries.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 3:23 a.m. CST

    4-1/2 hrs, right

    by Rich Malone

    So will this be released as one film, or two? Intermission?

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 3:57 a.m. CST

    Re: Straight To Hell

    by Srikar

    I loved it when you wrote: "Hitler, Stallin, Mussolini, Chaushesku, Kim Jung, Castro, Chaves, Puttin (who is well on his way to putting Mother Russia back together). Every single one of these monsters spoke of liberating their people, and then ended up dehumanizing them and destroying them." The part about liberation rhetoric followed by dehumanizing and destructive actions made me think of George W(e'll be greeted as liberators) Bush. Also, Putin is not rebuilding the USSR. He's resurrecting the Russian Empire with himself as the new Czar. As bad as his domestic political moves have been, it does not justify the US increasing pressure on him via the missile shield on his border and our surrogates in Georgia slaughtering people in South Ossetia.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 4:02 a.m. CST

    Che, Sinner? Saint? Both? Whatever.

    by Sgt.Steiner

    I, personally, am interested in seeing the strategies involved in fighting a guerilla war played out. And if we are making lists of dictators, shouldn't be Battista be on there? Also, Oliver North is an asshole. Trying to use his uniform to cover up the fact that he is a criminal. Pathetic.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 4:05 a.m. CST

    Postcards from the Rhine

    by ViktorBC

    Maybe that will be the title of a nice little Hitler bio to go next to the Che DVD when it comes out. Later Mao and Stalin DVDs can complete the colection. If they want Castro to do commentary during the DVD, they better hurry up.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 4:06 a.m. CST

    The review though...

    by ViktorBC

    was very good.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 4:17 a.m. CST

    Damn You Michael Bay


    Damn You Michael Bay

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 4:23 a.m. CST

    terrible review

    by mynemaborat

    what terrible review... he just rambles on about about alot of nonsense... like del toro's great for the things he 'doesn't say'?... and i'm sick of hearing people defend a movie by saying 'but that's what the director was aiming for'... speed racer reviews were terrible for that... who cares if that's what the director was aiming to do, if it's shit it's shit and it just means that the whole conceptualisation was off to begin with

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 4:25 a.m. CST

    and what the fuck does this mean?

    by mynemaborat

    "If anything, my love for this movie comes from HOW it was made, not necessarily WHAT it was about." are you serious??... ludicrous

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 4:29 a.m. CST

    Now that's what I call an erudite review...get this guy onboard!

    by KillaKane

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 4:40 a.m. CST


    by VegasRon

    crawl back in that you came from.<p> Unless, of course, your mother is still servicing the royals. Then you're shit out of luck, mate.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 4:41 a.m. CST


    by VegasRon

    i hate this site's lack of an edit button.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 4:41 a.m. CST


    by vrui

    First,before saying anything,read,learn history, stupid dumbasses.He was a guerilla fighter,in a revolution,in a war,of course there is going to be killing.Nobody is saying he´s a saint,but it is important to hang to his words and his ideas for a better world.I´m sure all those who hate and say bad shit about ché also voted for Bush (BIGGEST CRIMINAL IN HISTORY AFTER HITLER),fucking hypocrats.How about Vietnam? How about Allende in Chile? Should I keep going...? Stop jerking off so much to Palin and start learning something real...I hate all these fucking conservative traditionalist right wing religious fricks FUCKERS!!!

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 5:08 a.m. CST

    Harry, you should hire Chris.

    by depalma25

    What a thoughtful review. Not only was it well written but it was profound and gave me more insight to this film than any other review I've read regarding Che. I love Soderbergh. When I say Bubble I was a film student. People often ask me now if I can whatch a film without thinking about the filmmaking process. Even when I was little I was always trying to find the artifice. Bubble was one of the few movies that transported me completeley into another world. The opening scene in Traffic did the same thing. I don't know if this happened with Sex, Lies and Videotape. I may have been too busy jacking off.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 5:09 a.m. CST

    fuck, I should reread my comments...

    by depalma25

    I was crazy with the typos.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 5:16 a.m. CST


    by DocPazuzu

    "BIGGEST CRIMINAL IN HISTORY AFTER HITLER" <p> Really, vrui? Even more than Stalin? Mao? Idi Amin? Pinochet? Bokassa? Pol Pot? Franco? <p> Asshole.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 5:25 a.m. CST


    by MindWr4ith

    Bystander #1 -Hey that guy just shot that little kid! Bystander #2 - But he has some good ideas on how to improve the world. Bystander #1 - BUT HE SHOT THE KID! Bystander #2 - trivial details just wait 40 years you'll see.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 5:49 a.m. CST


    by mynemaborat

    dont start crying vegas ron... i didn't like the review, deal with it

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 6:19 a.m. CST

    Funny how...

    by cowbellfever

    there's almost as many people who consider him a villain as much as a hero! You don't see many people selling t-shirts with Stalin's or Hitler's face on them! And am I not right in saying that there's a film based on Herr Bush coming soon??? There'll about as many fans of W. as there are of Che. Personally, as long as a movie is/sounds interesting (to me!), I'll give it a chance (and I doubt I'll feel 'raped' if it turns out to be shit, unlike half the over-critics on this site).

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 6:23 a.m. CST


    by VegasRon

    Maybe if your stupid fucking rambling post made any kind of sense I could be labelled "crying".<p> You incoherent shitstain.<p>

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 6:23 a.m. CST

    Olsen Twins_Fan

    by CM1986

    With a name like "Olsen Twins_Fan", I think you kind of disqualify yourself on your own point about "grown-ups". And when if I'm saying I went through a Che phase around the time 'Traffic' came out, as I'd noted, clearly we're talking eight years ago, not "two"...

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 6:26 a.m. CST

    oh shit

    by VegasRon

    CM gets NASTY.<p> welcome to the cesspool, my friend.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 6:26 a.m. CST


    by CM1986

    I'd address your responses, but like Olsen Twins_Fan, I think your handle says just about all anybody needs to know about you and your cinematic sensibilities...

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 6:31 a.m. CST

    What language is it in? If it's english, it'd be weird.

    by ricarleite

    And is it really necessary to break it in two? What happened to long films? Just because they can charge only one ticket?

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 6:32 a.m. CST

    The Eskimo, VegasRon, depalma25, KillaKane

    by CM1986

    Thanks to The Eskimo, VegasRon, depalma25, KillaKane for the kind feedback on the review!

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 6:48 a.m. CST

    "and what the fuck does this mean?"

    by CM1986

    It means that I come from the school of thought that it is technique, not content, that makes a great film. That is why Hitchcock will always be my favorite director: "not what, but how". But as we've seen, Academy and lots of critics often pander towards content. How elle do you explain 'Ordinary People' beating 'Raging Bull', or 'Forrest Gump' topping 'Pulp Fiction'?

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 6:51 a.m. CST

    don´t hurt my feelings, please...

    by vrui

    Just because I like Ché´s ideas does not mean I liked his methods.Bush is not worse than Stalin,Franco,Pinochet(backed by the US government),etc..,he´s just as bad.Once you cross the line all these FUCKERS have crossed it doesn´t matter how far you are from the line.And yes,of course I think it´s okay for Ché to shoot kids- what stupid fucking people-a lot of kids (unfortunately) have died in history, are dying now, and will continue to die, but like you we´ll just keep in mind the image of the kid that you say he killed.And for all those vrui lovers out there, here´s the latest one to the list of people that should be eaten by a shark without leaving a single particle of life: probably and unfortunately for the world, for history, and for the universe, the next vicepresident of the US, Bitch Sarah Palin, because you will (i hope to Buddah not) fuck up once again and vote this crazy crook from alaska, GOD HELP YOU ALL!!! Who´s next? Russia, China, Iran, N. Korea... when will you all learn over there?

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 6:58 a.m. CST

    "Obligatory Che Phase"

    by Darth Busey

    My memory's a little hazy, but did that include the wearing of OP shirts, rolled up sweatpants, and spiked hair?

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 7:19 a.m. CST

    vrui, you scumbag.

    by DocPazuzu

    You actually think there's no difference between Bush, Hitler and Stalin? Or Mao? Please explain how Bush, who I loathe by the way, is equal to the three biggest mass murderers in history -- Mao, Stalin and Hitler. <p> While you're at it, perhaps you can explain why there is no difference between children who are accidentally killed in collateral damage and walking up to a child and shooting him or her to death in cold blood.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 7:22 a.m. CST

    by the way, vrui...

    by DocPazuzu

    ....where is this "line" drawn that you speak of beyond which there is no nuance?

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 8:02 a.m. CST

    vrui says "kids die all the time"

    by Thrillho77

    Yet he probably thinks worse of Bush because he perpetrated a war where a bunch of innocent people died. Hey vrui! People die all the time!!! Wooo hooo!!!

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 8:03 a.m. CST

    He made up the line

    by Thrillho77

    Or it's a line of some really shitty coke he did.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 8:14 a.m. CST


    by chrth

    He should be played by Banderas and he should be singing!<p> Yeah just one blast and the tear gas falls like rain!

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 8:33 a.m. CST

    vegasron and CM

    by mynemaborat

    for gods sake vegasron, how bout you do something a little more constructive than trolling on here trying to pick fights... if you liked the review, fine, say so and then move on. what do u really get out of reading through these talkbacks and then mouthing off at people? and CM, i appreciate your response, i know what your saying. i thought you meant you value style over substance, ala 300.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 8:51 a.m. CST

    AICN needs more reviewers like this guy...

    by Pdorwick

    ...wonderfully, concisely written with no juvenile, clumsy or ridiculous sexual metaphors; finally, an adult!

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 8:52 a.m. CST

    Thanks mynemaborat

    by CM1986

    Thanks man! And if we can agree on one thing, I hope it is that we are on the same page about '300' sucking. But that is a whole other talk for a whole other talkback!

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 8:52 a.m. CST

    Thanks Pdorwick

    by CM1986

    Thank you for the kind words! Cheers.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 8:57 a.m. CST

    Yeah, really good review

    by Leopold Scotch

    Best I've seen on here in a while. I'm not surprised about all the positive feedback, even though that's so unusual on here.<br><br>I fell sorry for Ché: I mean all the poor guy wanted to do was travel around selling his excellent T-shirts, and he ended up tortured for it...<br><br>Seriously though, I'd really like to see this. I'll have to look for a UK release date.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 9:38 a.m. CST

    Thanks Leopold Scotch

    by CM1986

    Thanks for the words Leopold! I have to admit, I thought writing a review on here would be akin to throwing myself to the sharks, but all you talkbackers have been really thoughtful in your responses, and I can't thank everyone enough!

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 9:44 a.m. CST basically this is like Nic Cage's Next?


  • Sept. 12, 2008, 10:05 a.m. CST

    Nice review.

    by R_Sammy

    It sounds like CM watches movies the way I do and I am excited to see this. Soderberg is always interesting. I love when he does his own cinematography like on Solaris and Traffic. <p>If you missed it you should check out K Street. It is a short lived tv show that Soderberg directed that shows an improvised semi-documentary view of D.C. with actors and a fictional story that weaves in an out of the real world politics and politicians. Each episode was made and aired in just a few days and took place the week it aired. Like most of his work there are a few missteps, but its mostly excellent.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 10:10 a.m. CST

    traffic is terrible


    overdone, melodrama, one good performance and a lot of cavalier attitudes about the truth of addiction. It tried to tell too many sides of the story, and while I know thats the point its unsuccessful. And his name was ERNESTO, not Ernest goes to Cuba.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 10:27 a.m. CST

    hooray for mindless glorification of tyrants!

    by BrowncoatJedi

    Yay murdering scum! Unthinking college kids truly have picked a wonderful role model. Aren't they so coooooooool?

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 10:29 a.m. CST

    I saw part one yesterday... it was BLAH!

    by abigblueball

    It's totally underwhelming. This film is supposed to be about what it was like to be 'around' Che, you say? Well the camera is hardly even on Che. There's one scene at a NY gathering that is focused on his underling eating grapes. The relationship between Che and Castro felt like two boring dudes who met at a party and non chalantly say 'lets start a revolution'. John Lennon sang it better than this. There's no depth between Che and Castro. I will say the ending battle to take over cuba was well done...but the overall direction made me yearn for what Terence Malick would have done with this material. I have a ticket for part two today, but I have no real desire to go. Anyone want my ticket?

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 11:05 a.m. CST

    "Hey, nice Che shirt fuckstick. How about a punch in the face?"

    by Stuntcock Mike

    Roger Ebert's actual reaction to a fellow "critic"

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 11:09 a.m. CST


    by CM1986

    Haha that made me laugh. My bad. I rattled the review off at work, and didn't really read it over before sending it. I like that though, "Ernest Goes To Cuba".

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 11:34 a.m. CST


    by GilbertRSmith

    You know... shit. It kind of irks me when kids idolize Che because like, I know people who are actually from Cuba, who lost family and friends. People who fought and killed Castro's men. It's not like wearing a V for Vendetta shirt. The Cuban Communist revolution isn't fiction, it's not a cool underground rock band you can be in on if you're hip enough. You can't say "The Cuban communist revolution used to be cool, but on their second album, they sold out, bro!". To this day, people are being tortured and murdered in Cuba over political agendas going back to Che.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 11:40 a.m. CST


    by CM1986

    Well, it is like I was very careful to point out: people will either love it, or they'll hate it. And I don't think anybody would be wrong for feeling either way on the subject.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 1:29 p.m. CST

    Che's a youth icon mainly cuz of his "look".

    by StanGrossman

    Seriously, the last couple of generations awareness of the man comes mainly from the t-shirts. And the t-shirts became popular because the guy was handsome in a dark, Chris Cornell kind of way. If he happened to be ugly, the t-shirts never would've become hip, and most people would've never heard of him (even now, a lot of people wearing the t-shirts know nothing about him beyond his name). You do have to appreciate the irony that a man who loathed American capitalism has a capitalist commodity to thank for his lasting fame.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 1:39 p.m. CST

    gotta love it - classic debate strategy

    by Charlie_Allnut

    change the topic - Instead of talking about Che the mass murderer change the topic to Bush or Ollie North.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 3:35 p.m. CST

    this looks/sounds really fucking boring.


  • Sept. 12, 2008, 4:11 p.m. CST

    Re: "this looks/sounds really fucking boring."

    by CM1986

    So don't see it...

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 4:34 p.m. CST



    I won't!!

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 5:07 p.m. CST

    I love how all these Che bashers

    by hst666

    are completely ignorant of the man's history other than a few things they heard over the years and feel OK bashing supporters as ignoranyt t-shirt consumers.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 5:10 p.m. CST

    Straight to Hell

    by hst666

    Why don't you add all the brutal dictators that the US has supported over the years? Or do they only register when they are Red. I assume you despise McCain for his "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran" comment as well.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 5:13 p.m. CST


    by hst666

    And people were tortured and killed before Castro as well. There's a reason they were successful. The government put greed for foreign money over the needs of its people. Of course, once in power Castro's Megalomania quickly turned him over to the dark side.

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 7:26 p.m. CST


    by BadMrWonka

    hold it right there.....hold it.....hoooold it...perfect! thanks, got it!<p>(I take pictures of complelte fucking idiots for my scrapbook...filing you under "doesn't get complicated movies, but talks about them anyway")

  • Sept. 12, 2008, 7:42 p.m. CST


    by the9points

    '86. Kudos. A fine review. This hasn't featured too prominently on my radar until now but you've added it to my list. Top five films? <p> Danny, <p> what makes it look/sound really fucking boring - in your opinion?

  • Sept. 13, 2008, 2:17 a.m. CST

    I hate Che, I know history and I am a Liberal.

    by Dirk Shocker

    So suck on it. You cant stand it when someone comes out and dislikes Che ... Why? You instantly come out saying " pick up a book, don't be ignorant ". You dumb fucks! Why can't a guy like me express my opinion about the man without being judged as ignorant? As a matter of fact, the majority of the Che t-shirt wearing people who I've encountered don't know shit about him. It's just fucking fashion statement for them. Have the fucking balls to tell a man who went through hell to come to the States from Cuba that Che was a just man. He might have started meaning well but the fucking guy became blood thirsty. DON'T FORGET IT.

  • Sept. 13, 2008, 6:33 a.m. CST

    Casting makes interesting

    by LeftFoot

    Benicio Del Toro as Che? Regardless of what you think of Che. Del Toro as Che immediately gets my interest. Sometimes the powers that be get the casting just right.

  • Sept. 13, 2008, 10:36 p.m. CST


    by jmyoung666

    Isn't Castro more to blame for Cuba than Che? Che was gone pretty early on.

  • Sept. 14, 2008, 4:38 a.m. CST


    by Dirk Shocker

    That's true, but if you hang out with your boys you are like your boys. You know what I mean? Shit would have been the same or maybe even worst if he had stayed. It's a known fact that the man was feared for a reason.