Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Benicio Del Toro stars as the title character of Steven Soderbergh's Che (IFC)
NOTE: Landmark has just announced that the roadshow engagement of
has been held over at Hillcrest Cinemas -- so you have a little more time to catch Soderbergh's epic.
I talked about Steven Soderbergh's Che (opened March 6 at Landmark's Hillcrest Cinemas ) on the February Film Club (you can listen to our discussion above) and I just wanted to remind people that Thursday will be your last chance to catch the four-hour-plus epic on the big screen. Although I was disappointed by the film and felt like I didn't get any closer to Che after spending hours in the jungle with him, it's still the kind of event cinema that's worth checking out on the big screen. It's just too bad that all the passion that went into making the film (star Benicio Del Toro felt so strongly about the film that he also served as one of the producers) didn't end up as visible onscreen. You could look at the films as less a portrait of revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara and more a portrait of the minutia of putting on a revolution -- one that succeeds and one that fails. There is at times an almost mundane sense of detail as we follow Che through the jungles and streets of Cuba in Part One of the films and to Bolvia in Part Two .
Del Toro's performance is fine and there are many strong moments (including some wonderful black and white footage of Che in New York doing interviews and appearing at the United Nations) but the parts are better than the whole. I found both
The Hands of Che
to be better portraits of the man. The documentary
The Hands of Che Guevara
is especially fascinating because it presnets itself as a quest to resolve the mystery of what happened to the hands of Che after his body was discovered in 1997. But as Dutch filmmaker Peter De Kock interviews people and witnesses we get a fascinating second-hand portrait of the revolutionary that provides insights into the impact he had on people, society, and the world.
Demian Bichir as Fidel Castro and Benicio Del Toro as Ernesto Che Guevara in Che (IFC)