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*** Official CHE Discussion Thread (1 Viewer)

Pete Lee

Stunt Coordinator
Nov 11, 2001
Anyone also catch "Che" this weekend? Admittedly in very limited release, only 1 theatre each in NY and LA and only for a week before it disappears until January, when it will get a wider release as 2 separate movies. But this weekend, went to see the full 4 1/2 hour movie, plus 30 min intermission, at the Ziegfeld in NY. I liked the pic. First part, which largely covers the Cuba revolution, is stronger than the second, which deals with Che's attempt to start a revolution in Bolivia. Benicio del Toro turns in a fine performance, plausibly conveying the charisma of a man who was and has become, regardless of whether you agree with his politics, a folk hero. Soderbergh has probably never shot an ugly image and he's true to form here, there are many arresting visuals although no single shot stands out or lingers with me, like, for example, the amazing shot of the plane flying through the clouds in Michael Mann's "Miami Vice."

For those technically inclined, this is the first big pic shot with the 4K resolution Red One digital cameras. It was also digitally projected at the show I went to, although I assume the projector was a 2K machine so it's unclear how much of that extra 4K resolution is actually showing up on the screen.

Robert Crawford

Senior HTF Member
Dec 9, 1998
Real Name
This thread is now designated the Official Discussion Thread for "Che". Please, post all comments, links to outside reviews, film and box office discussion items to this thread.

All HTF member film reviews of "Che" should be posted to the Official Review Thread.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.


May 11, 2006
Thoughts on the two ported over from my small blog.
Part 1
Based on the memoir “Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War”
by Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

Released as two films forming a cinematic diptych, director Steven Soderbergh has fashioned them in separate styles, thus I shall tackle each one separately.
The first film begins in now typical Soderbergh fashion, lots of hand held camera work, varying degrees of film stocks used(or is that all digital trickery nowadays?), and elliptical editing. Unfortunately the style, jumping back and forth in time, locked off shots cutting to hand held ones; odd camera placement etcetera becomes almost fetishistic in its overuse. There’s no doubt Soderbergh has an eye for framing, but whether he can tell a coherent story is still very much in question. Each film has its own aspect ratio (more movie fetishism) with this one’s 2.35.1 frame telling us this is the “epic” part of Che’s life. We soon realize that all this surface fluff is to hide the fact that the film has no center, no soul, its as uncomplicated as a Saturday morning matinee, except, instead of a fun cowboy film, it’s a barely watchable slog the beautiful scenery, with Che spouting off clichéd lines that do little to enhance his stature-an example I’m thinking of is actually from the second film but it rings true for dialogue throughout the whole- when Che asks a young boy his age and finds that he is 16 Che says, “16! That is old enough for a man to know what he wants to live for!” This might be off by a word or two but the sentiment remains the same, the camera lingers on the young boy as someone tells him that was Che Guevara, his face lights up letting us know that if he didn’t know want he wanted to live for he does now. This first part gives us no real sense of Che the man, instead it’s a postcard view of Fidel’s takeover of Cuba, with just enough arty snobiness from Soderbergh to try and fool viewers into thinking there’s an intelligence at work where there is not. Such art snobiness will also keep most mainstream audiences away from the film, most likely an insecure unconscious defensiveness on Soderbergh part. Taken by itself it forms little of value. It should be noted that Benicio Del Toro gives a fine performance from a lackluster screenplay. Did I mention Soderbergh shot the whole thing in Spanish?

Part 2
Based on “Bolivian Diary” by Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

Here director Steven Soderbergh switched aspect ratios, the more intimate 1.85:1, dials down the editing, uses no black and white footage and maintains a somewhat coherent timeline. Taking into account the cinematic conditions of Part 2, one could reasonably assume Soderbergh is going to get personal, more thematically meaningful with this second part, not happening here, never was gonna happen. There is a certain condescension in a film that tackles a flesh and blood human being, yet is afraid to endow him with nary a human weakness, Gibson’s Christ was less virtuous than Che. Not much happens in this two and a half hour second part, lots of slogging through the woods, one-dimensional Americans, military rulers who should just wear signs saying “bad guy.” At the end when*spoiler? * Che is shot, the camera switches to his point of view, and we fall with Che to the ground solidifying the films until now half hidden aims, we are meant to merge with Che, the films previous four hours, his endless walking, wounds, bouts with asthma all form a new passion play for the spiritually reluctant. One almost expects a woman to wipe Che’s face clean after he is executed, then *shock* *gasp* we note his face imprinted on the t-shirt forming our new mythology.
With a Matt Damon cameo reminding me to remind you to watch The Good Shepard (again if need be.)

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