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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Che, Part 1
`Che Part One' (aka as The Argentine) explores Che Guevara's experiences during the Cuban Revolution based on his own Cuban diaries. It looks at how he developed as a revolutionary and how Castro gave him more and more responsibility as his talents grew. He comes across as idealistic and honest and looked after both his men and the peasants in the areas he fought in. Del...
Published on 6 Mar 2010 by Spider Monkey

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Revolution's beginning
Steven Soderbergh created one of those movies that is lucky to have been made at all -- a four-hour-plus biopic of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara.

But even split in half, it's something of a mixed bag. "Che - Part 1: Argentine" is a visually gorgeous and low-key piece of work that focuses on the pivotal slices of Guevara's life, with an amazing lead...
Published on 18 Mar 2010 by E. A Solinas


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Che, Part 1, 6 Mar 2010
By 
Spider Monkey (UK) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Che: Part One [DVD] (DVD)
`Che Part One' (aka as The Argentine) explores Che Guevara's experiences during the Cuban Revolution based on his own Cuban diaries. It looks at how he developed as a revolutionary and how Castro gave him more and more responsibility as his talents grew. He comes across as idealistic and honest and looked after both his men and the peasants in the areas he fought in. Del Toro acts superbly throughout and you could really believe this is a documentary, rather than a film, as the acting and direction is so good. This is shot mostly in Spanish, with subtitles, which adds authenticity to the film and isn't a hindrance to understanding or enjoyment. This film also uses colour and black and white cinematography to good effect. The revolution part of the film is shot in colour and the scenes where Che is talking at the U.N. after the war has been won is shot in black and white. This is very effective and gives the film a historical feel to it. Having read the book I know that rather being a exact chronology of the revolutionary war, it is rather a series of the exploits, battles and experiences as told by Che. This film follows the same format and if you don't know some of the history of the Cuban issue it may be confusing at times. For example it make reference to the Bay of Pigs (where the U.S. sponsored an invasion of Cuba) but doesn't really specify any other information about it for those unaware of the history. Although in the films defence I am guessing the kind of person who would want to see this film would have a rudimentary understanding of the war and general history in the first place. This is quite slow moving at times and isn't good for those expecting an all Hollywood action movie, but if you enjoy authentic feeling bio-pics then this is well considering. It is brilliantly acted, has amazing locations and shines a light on the character of a twentieth century icon.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guerilla war struggle is a new education, 12 Aug 2011
This review is from: Che: Part One [DVD] (DVD)
Where to begin? Probably by saying that I've considered myself a socialist of some description for most of my adult life, despite not growing up in South America, experiencing dictatorial regimes or exposure to societies or eras in which the carrying of arms is/was more common or accepted as a 'way of life'. There's no such thing as an innocent reading, said Louis Althusser, and there will be no exception to that statement here. Che Part One is a thoughtful, well-executed and - let's be honest - exciting depiction of a period in 20th Century history that deserves this unprecedented and extended treatment. Benicio Del Toro portrays the mature Che as the uncompromising and intelligent revolutionary some of us may have gleaned from between the lines of the official and commercial recycling machine. I rented this film with the vague sense of dread that accompanies any situations where you are worried that something (or someone) you've always vaguely considered inspirational could be ruined by a heavy-handed or bombastic approach. There was none of that here. The sequences of fighting and interviews interspersed with quotes from Che or his diaries are the furthest thing possible from an attempt at ideological indoctrination - what we get is clarity of thought emerging from concrete situations and eloquent countering of facile argument. While neither this film nor it's sequel take us into the later history of Cuba under Castro and subsequent claims of human rights abuse, what we do get is a portrayal of events that makes it clear how a genuine political sequence opens up the scope of freedom and possibility within a people or nation in a way that seemed inconceivable beforehand. My personal highlight is a scene in which Che takes over the operation of some of the heavier ordinance from a slightly inexperienced recruit. No more sermonising, best just to check it out for yourself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 16 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Che: Part One [DVD] (DVD)
Brilliant adaptation of the story of Che Guevara. The acting throughout is believable, and really grasps the personality of each of the characters. The film seamlessly builds tension juxtaposed with humour. A film for anyone interested in war, politics, or just brilliant movies.
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4.0 out of 5 stars great film, 24 April 2014
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This review is from: Che - Part One - The Argentine [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Very good film, great picture and sound, excelent Benecio del Toro . I don't like to translation of spanish to english
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A radical film for a radical character, 18 Feb 2009
By 
m "macey" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Che: Part One [DVD] (DVD)
As I understand it, this film almost didn't get made. Mainstream studios didn't really want to touch it, even given Soderberg and Del Toro's involvement, and they didn't like it that it was all in Spanish!

I think there are probably three types of people who will come to the experience: those who know nothing about the man, those who know nothing except that famous picture (I'm in this group) and those who live and breath every biographical fact. I think all will come away happy.

Now, getting the tough stuff out of the way: it's a bit of a demanding watch. If you don't know who's who, it's a bit of a struggle to start with. The story plays out over several time periods, so you have to pay attention. Also, the pace is slightly off-putting at first because the usual 'plot points' and 'act crescendos' have been abandoned altogther. Soderberg had said he wanted his film to be like all the other scenes a conventional biography would have left out or chopped down.

If I am completely honest, I did find it a bit hard going in places, but reflecting now, it feels all the richer an experience because, somehow, the simple unfolding style allows you to really take in the nature of the main people and circumstances involved. As always with a biog film, you wonder how much is accurate and true, but Che the character comes across as very compelling. Straightforward in his belief that imperialism and capitalsim was at the source of much of the world's woes, he committed himself to bringing it down.

A great performance from Del Toro, not overplayed, but with beliveable steadfastness of a man who is intent upon doing what he feels is right. There isn't any shying away from the fact that the revolution was obviously a violent time, and Che clearly played his part in that.

It's easy to see how this film could have been made much more conventionally (epic soundtrack, lots of english actors in supporting roles etc etc) but it goes off in another direction completely, and I find that to be a great thing, in the end. It all feels much more akin to a documentary, sort of 'spending some time with people', rather than a full in-your-face production and that leaves, I think, a lot of room for personal reflection - almost a space in the film for the viewer him/herself. A chance to consider what YOU feel about the film and it's subject matter: was the revolution right? Were Che and Castro right? Do their views still matter today? For me personally, the thing which most came across was the question of personal committment: that if one person believes in something completely, then really anything at all can happen, and actions can continue to resonate long into the future.

And finally, a brilliantly quirky ending which sort of cuts the end of the tale short, but in such a way that you don't mind.

Well worth checking out - I'm looking forward to seeing part two.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful to look at, breathtaking in scope, brilliant in its execution, 3 July 2009
This review is from: Che: Part One [DVD] (DVD)
Almost everyone knows what Che Guevara looks like, but probably very few people have ever investigated him much further than "revolutionary" and "icon". Thankfully, director of this mammoth film Steven Soderbergh has done his homework extremely well, and as a result we are given a film that allows us a genuine insight into Che the man.
Ignoring the early life of the Argentinean doctor Ernesto Guevara who would become the iconic Che, and covered in great depth and style by Walter Salles in the simply brilliant Motorcycle Diaries, Soderbergh picks up the story with Che in Mexico and his first meeting with an equally idealistic Fidel Castro. Soon they are sailing towards Cuba with a small band of guerrillas, intent on fermenting rebellion and revolution against the corrupt (and American backed) Batista regime. The film deals very matter of factly with the revolution, with the rebels suffering a series of setbacks before winning the hearts and minds of the people and the inevitable victory that propels Castro to power and Che into the role of statesman. It is very difficult to say much more about the plot of the film, being that is pretty much all there is, but Soderbergh handles the proceedings brilliantly.
Using an initially very fragmented structure that flits between Che and Fidel's first meeting and Che's time post revolution that he spent in New York addressing the United Nations, the film then uses this dual structure to tell the tale of Che the revolutionary and Che the man, one being indivisible from the other. Benicio del Toro is simply superb as Che, a man driven by his revolutionary ideals, who seeks to educate the people he frees from the Batista junta, who can be unwaveringly single minded when he needs to be, but is ever mindful of his own moral core. Del Toro's fluency in Spanish undoubtedly helps his performance, giving it a resounding ring of truth, as does his able support from a cast of relative unknowns, who occasionally sparkle in their own roles, but are never allowed to overshadow Del Toro's magnificent performance as Che, and this is only to the films benefit.
Peter Buchman, previously best known for Jurassic Park 3 I kid you not, wrote the screenplay and adapted much from Che's own "Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War", and what a fantastic job he has done at uncovering the real Che. Whilst the film does tend to jump somewhat, with moments that seem important abandoned without a thought, this works well within the context of the biopic (remember, this is not a film about the Cuban revolution, it is about Che Guevara).
This wont be to everyone's taste. This is not history made appealing for people who don't like history in the vein of Valkerie, Defiance or U571, this is not slam bang action, this is a slow, thoughtful movie about one of the 20th century's most iconic figure, and love him or hate him, you simply cannot ignore him.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Revolution's beginning, 18 Mar 2010
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Che: Part One [DVD] (DVD)
Steven Soderbergh created one of those movies that is lucky to have been made at all -- a four-hour-plus biopic of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara.

But even split in half, it's something of a mixed bag. "Che - Part 1: Argentine" is a visually gorgeous and low-key piece of work that focuses on the pivotal slices of Guevara's life, with an amazing lead performance by Benicio Del Toro as the titular revolutionary. Unfortunately, it's also a very slow-moving affair that brushes past some of the more unsavory facets of Che Guevara's life and personality... and ironically many of the positive ones.

In the 1960s, Guevara (Benicio Del Toro) is in New York City for a UN conference, being interviewed by a US reporter about his viewpoints as a guerilla leader and revolutionary. Then the narrative jumps back a decade to when he and others (including Fidel Castro) consider the many injustices over in Cuba and start planning for a revolution. Despite being Argentinian by birth, Che follows them to Cuba and joins the guerilla revolution.

But despite his start as a medic, Che began showing talents in other areas, and becomes a leader of the guerilla outlaws in the Cuban countryside. He grapples with his own ill health (asthma), the loss of his compatriots and the attacks from the military, which also threaten some of the non-revolutionaries -- and as time goes on, their revolution gained power and notice, and began the ultimate battle for control of Cuba.

Rather than the usual biographical movie format, Steven Soderbergh approaches "Che - Part 1: Argentine" as if he were filming a documentary. There are no scenes of little Che being kicked by a rich guy or melodramatic subplots -- it's quite literally a slice of the pivotal point of Che Guevara's life, and a 1960s shakycaminterview adds to that feeling. As an added note of authenticity, almost all of the dialogue is in Spanish rather than poorly-accented English, giving a you-are-there feel.

Much of the story is devoted to the guerillas staggering through lush, richly green countryside, and living in very rough surroundings; while the storyline is rather slow, it speeds up gradually as Guevara grows in influence and the revolution really heats up. Pinging gunshots, explosions, tanks, tense chases through deserted streets and burning trains all play a part in the harrowing finale, all the more so because you know that all this mayhem actually took place.

Del Toro is, to put it mildly, astonishing as Guevara -- not only is he a dead ringer physically (with the right facial hair and clothes), but he exudes a quiet charisma, literate intelligence and power that make you see exactly why someone might follow him if they agreed with his politics. No one else in the story really gets to stand out, but Del Toro simply IS the cast all by himself.

Yet ironically it's a piously bland, virtuous portrait of Guevera. Soderbergh wimps out on the cruel, extremist sides of his personality and the regime he helped create; on the other hand, he also brushes over the man's fierce intellect, his writing, and world interests. It feels like we're looking at one mirrored facet of a very complex man, and surely more of who he was -- the good, the bad AND the ugly -- could have been included.

It's obvious Soderbergh put a lot of heart into producing the raw, realistic "Che - Part 1: Argentine," but his glorification and simplication of a controversial figure drags the first half of his labor of love.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CHERISHED ARGENTINE DREAMER IN CASTRO'S CUBA, 23 Feb 2009
This review is from: Che: Part One [DVD] (DVD)
There is no doubt that this cinema epic chronicling the arrival of "Che Guevera in Cuba" and the events leading to the overthrow of the corrupt Batista regime will haunt you for years ,whether you love or hate the political ideology ,as the sprawling epic of a very complex and free spirit who is both controversial but nevertheless a radical reformer and revolutionary with a charismatic flair and his vision is actually more defined today in a practical manner and the fact he succeeded as well is a redemption,while the ideals that he sparked are moulding and changing the globe even today.

The first part sees Benicio Del Toro arrive on a boat from Mexico to Cuba with 80 other revolutionaries who then engage in a long drawn military campaign finally toppling Batista regime and making Cuba the only country in America which is free of American intervention .

This part is fascinating where you see Che become comandante from a foreign intruder as he metes out blind justice to both the oppressors and the revolutionaries who step out of line to impress that all human beings are equal and he himself promotes the practice as a model of that virtue by sharing the food shortages and rationing with his fighters.

The character and principles of the man are dramatically established without melodrama or sermons to the point you subconciously start to respect him in an amazing turn with a tour de force act by Benicio ,who has acted in the most spontaneous manner as if he is the character than an actor.

He plays the stalwart rebel with a laconic restraint and the brilliantly enacted "asthmatic episodes "make him look as vulnerable and human as the next person and yet so natural as not to be an act ,del toro becomes so endearing in that you almost are fascinated by the bleak and perilous journey through cuban forests with ragtag rebels in ragged uniforms and a lot of physical suffering and misery which is portrayed in a harmonious balance without making a melodrama of this rigourous and affective experience as people die and are killed for deception alike .

There are a lot of brutal and gratuitiously violent sequences in the process but they define the characters and enhance the atmosphere of the real life events ,the most memorable st piece is a brilliant street battle staged for the capture of the crucial city of Santa Clara which is technically a masterpiece to execute and the action is immaculately realistic involving a train derailment on a rail crossing which is factual event and the crucial event leading to the final triumph .

The spirit of the ordinary Cubans is demonstrated by minor characters in subtle sophistication where two teen age brothers refuse to leave despite being rejected for guerilla service .

I was rather surprised by the visit of Che to United Nations in New York and the tongue in cheek way he trashes the global opposition, here che becomes a fair ,adorable ,iconic intellectual and a dashing soldier and a victorious military hero while evoking some real emotion in both your concious and subconcious mind as Del Toro almost oozes the man and his spirit on screen .

Benicio has acted everyone off the screen with his total transformation into the very skin of the character as you start to feel what he is thinking in a psychic act where he penetrates inside your head ,this is not traditional entertainment but historically accurate depiction without superfluous propaganda or flag waving , but describes it as the ony choice to change when ordinary people are crushed by a totatilitarian regime .

The relationship Che develops with his wife here is rather full of humour and tenderness and there are enough light hearted moments to make you smile in a grim journey through Cuba juxtaposed with a witty television interview footage mixed with monochrome and colour images which give it a gritty and authentic real look which makes this a total triumph for mr.Steven Soderbergh ,who is the captain in charge of the crew responsible for this exalting drama and he has done full justice to every trivia in every frame .

A cherished classic creating castro's Cuba with an Argentine asthmatic dreamer is brilliantly crafted by a master technician in contemporary cinema and that is no mean feat .
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Che part one - A revolutionary piece of film making !, 7 Feb 2009
By 
J. D. Naylor "jazzfan" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Che: Part One [DVD] (DVD)
Brilliant acting and superb action sequences combined with the drama of a real true life story unfolding before your eyes makes this riveting viewing.Based around Guevara's diaries of the revolutionary campaign this tells the story of how,with Fidel castro,they seized power in Cuba and overthrew Batista's brutal regime.Benicio Del Toro is given the role of his career to play the great revolutionary and he seizes the opportunity with both hands.I personally had read the film tie in book beforehand and,i feel, actually helped to give me a greater understanding of the story and with Soderbergh behind the camera everything just sprang to life.This is one of those biopics where no major cinematic liberties are taken - just the facts as written by Guevara himself.
When the real action comes in the second half of the film it is gritty,realistic and not "Hollywoodised" in any way.There are many exciting scenes of close range street combat but done in such a fashion as not to glamourise the violence, and in the process, giving it more meaning than a dozen Hollywood action films put together.
However,to get the most from this film an interest in world history at that period in time is important to a degree.Those expecting a gung-ho,chest beater of an action film may be a bit disappointed.This is serious, intense, political and historical filmaking, free of Hollywood gloss and glamour and personally, i would award Mr Soderbergh the Oscar for best picture without a doubt.
Can't wait for part II - The colmbian campaign.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Che, 20 Mar 2011
By 
A. J. Harrison (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Che: Part One [DVD] (DVD)
This film follows Ernesto 'Che' Guevara's Revolution to take back Cuba from dictator Batista.

The main problem I had with this movie is the fact it's filmed more like a documentary than a movie, which is probably what director Steven Soderbergh wanted to do, but I personally do not like that style of film making.

The story cuts between Gritty hand held black and white footage and to colour footage as Che embarks on his revolution through the Cuban forests. The other problem I found was that there was no real character development (except that of Che), all the scenes are quickly shown and then cut to something completely different.

Although the best thing in the movie is Benico Del Toro's performance as Che I didn't really like anything else in the movie (except prohaps the music used on the Main Menu of the DVD) and found myself getting bored quite a lot throughout.

I myself prefer a film to be more enjoyable than historically accurate. I don't think I will be bothering with Che Part 2.
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Che - Part One - The Argentine [Blu-ray]
Che - Part One - The Argentine [Blu-ray] by Steven Soderbergh (Blu-ray - 2009)
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