Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Peter Buchman
(Based on the book “Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War” by Ernesto Guevara)
The first of Steven Soderbergh’s two part film about Che Guevara. It is not an all encompassing biopic. Instead it picks two distinct periods and focuses on them. There is no Che as a twelve year old or Che in High School or anything. This first part, subtitled “The Argentine”, cross cuts between two events. The first being the 1956 revolution he and Fidel Castro staged in Cuba. The second being his strip to the United Nations to give a speech in 1964. The United Nations scene are shot in grainy 16mm black and white giving them the feel of a documentary from that era. The revolution sequences featuring a stellar charismatic performance from Del Toro. After seeing this there is really no way I could see another actor play Guevara without thinking Del Toro.
The film is very naturalistic. The events all play out realistically. Things aren’t stopped and mapped out for the audience. Listening to Soderbergh and the writers talking about the film really made me enjoy the approach they took. It is decidedly a non Hollywood approach to telling a story of a man’s life and I respect them for the choice. Soderbergh is a phenomenal director and the film looked beautiful on the Blu Ray I watched it on. I believe this was one of the first major movies shot with the Red and it definitely didn’t look overly digital to me which is a problem I notice sometimes with major movies shooting digital.
It is kind of a tough movie to crack in that there is a lot of history and politics and personal feelings that go with the film. It doesn’t start at the beginning and and it doesn’t really have an ending (hence the part two) but it is a well shot and wonderfully acted movie. Looking forward to part two.