Review of 'Che: Part One'

che.jpg Ernesto 'Che' Guevara (played by Benicio Del Toro) travels from his home in Argentina in 1956 to join a group of rebels in Cuba headed up by Fidel Castro in seeking to overthrow the government of dictator Fulgencio Batista. Initially he is provides services as a doctor but very quickly with his skills as a tactician and as a great communicator he is leading directing the rebels in effective attacks against the military as they make their way across the country to the capital.

The film is largely based on Che's memoir “Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War” and it certainly seems to be very realistically portrayed on the screen. Occasionally shocking in it's brutality most of the time the sense of the trials of waging a guerrilla war are vividly presented. It simply looks real and combined with the exceptional performance of Del Toro it is an engaging piece of work. If anything, I felt that this was largely a technical movie with little insight into Che, the man, but watching a documentary about the film I realize that this was intentional as they believed that his person life had been done to death already so they wanted to concentrate on his skills as a leader and soldier. Che's ethics are certainly also emphasized here with him continually reminding his troops that they are there for the citizens of Cuba and should treat them well as they are the innocents. At another point we see him turning down young recruits because they cannot yet read saying that they are to set an example for the people of Cuba and that the revolution and subsequent new government should be run by those that are educated.

I knew very little of the man before this movie and it has certainly made me admire him after watching. I realize that this is largely the intention of the directors (though I believe they tried not to be too biased) but I think this is probably largely true. I look forward to the second part of this epic film.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2015-10-02

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

Studio: Wild Bunch

Year: 2008

Length: 134 minutes

Genre: Melodrama

Other reviewed films by Steven Soderbergh: