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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Film Version
This is a powerful, seminal work covering key chapters in the life and career of the world's most famous revolutionary Che Guevara. And, for the price, you are getting over 4 hours of superb movie biopic, handled with the right balance between fact and filmography.

Be clear, there are parts in English but on the whole, it is subtitled in English which some...
Published on 25 April 2012 by Sean T. Page

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite sure what to make of this one...
Our generation knows very little about Che Guavera and what he contributed to political history. So in this respect, the film was very informative. That said, it was almost like watching a documentary with very little commentary. It just seemed to drone on and on. The Spanish dialogue provided some authenticity but the subtitles were laborious to have to read for...
Published on 17 April 2012 by Petal


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Film Version, 25 April 2012
This review is from: Che - Part One and Part Two [DVD] (DVD)
This is a powerful, seminal work covering key chapters in the life and career of the world's most famous revolutionary Che Guevara. And, for the price, you are getting over 4 hours of superb movie biopic, handled with the right balance between fact and filmography.

Be clear, there are parts in English but on the whole, it is subtitled in English which some viewers can find tiring. I'd just say, don't let it put you off - be patient and give it a chance. You will be well-rewarded.

A film in two parts, the first sees the Cuban revolution whilst the second follows events in Bolivia up to an amazing finale. Benicio del Toro is magnificent in short footage at the end of the film, we see the actor glancing out over the sea. For me, he really captured the character, the myth and the legend of Che.

There are gaps that it simply wasn't possible to cover in the timeframe of the movie which I would like to have seen more of. For example, his family and five children barely get a mention, leaving one wondering where he found the time to squeeze this effort in. In addition, his time in Congo is covered so briefly that the viewer just ends up with the idea that he `spent some time in the Congo'. It almost feels that there is a missing 45 minutes covering this chapter.

But these are minor criticisms in what is an epic film and the perfect place for people new to Che's story to read. You'll have plenty of time to pick and read further after the story. For now, prepared to meet one of the men hailed as one of the greatest humans of the last century - you don't have to agree with the assertion but fans include Mandela etc.

Guerrilla Warfare - for further information I recommend reading Che's own work first, before delving into the hundreds of books about him.

Enjoy this visual feast of a film and be transported to the revolutionary days in Cuba and Bolivia.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Argentina To Bolivia, 11 Dec. 2011
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Che - Part One and Part Two [DVD] (DVD)
This two part film is a long consideration of its topic, the hero of the Cuban Revolution, Ernesto Che Guevara. Like all heroes who died before their time he has a certain "aura". Our view of Guevara nowadays is linked to where the communist revolution eventually went, but Guevara was in at the beginning, when it was a simpler struggle between landlords, US corporations and campesinos, before the weight of the contest between the USA and Soviet Russia effectively made proxies out of many regimes.

The Guevara it portrays is wise, kind, helpful and able to maintain great loyalty, but he is also willing to execute his enemies (and in this beginning is his end) and support the loss of their property. The result is the philosopher guerrilla. If you lived through the period (as I did) you can enjoy spotting people like Regis Debray and re-reading the aims of Fidel Castro. The portrayal of guerrilla fighting is very effective; both where it is succeeding and where it fails as in Bolivia. There may not be quite enough action for many, but there is plenty in such a long film. Del Toro's portrayal of Guevara is so powerful as to begin to overwhelm the images I hold of the original Che.

The film may infuriate Cuban exiles or cold war warriors but, rather like "La battaglia di Algeri" its portrayal of both Battista troops and the Bolivians hunting Che is never simplistic. One can even sense admiration for the skill of the latter. It reminded me of just how little I know of Latin America's complex history.

Though I found it well told and beautifully filmed it must be said it moved slowly and probably into unknown waters for many viewers. I doubt it is a film for the viewer wanting some relaxing entertainment; a situation which does not reflect on either director or viewer.
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72 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong words softly spoken, 25 Jun. 2009
By 
Amazon Customer "Boo62" (Ilkeston Derbyshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Che - Part One and Part Two [DVD] (DVD)
A fascinating life story that was both turbulent & doomed is told with subtlety & restraint. Where many would have made a summer blockbuster war movie Steven Soderbergh instead paints with a gentle hand so that an almost serene & dreamlike quality is achieved. Many saw this as ideal material for Oliver Stone, with opportunity aplenty for dramatic shots of soldiers dying and a relentless pounding anti-war theme. In some respects, on occasion, Stone's pace & drama would be welcome but on the whole would have left this unbalanced & unfocused.
We follow Che from his first meetings with Fidel Castro quickly through to his involvement in guerilla warfare in a battle to take control of Cuba. Scenes of 'in the field' fighting & training are interspersed with black and white newsreel style scenes of his time in New York. The first 15 minutes are a little confusing as the timelines flit all over the place but eventually things settle down and a juxtaposition between his role as representative and soldier.
At first the battle sways back & forth with Battista's forces holding the stronger ground but bit by bit the revolution begins to take hold and the inevitable victory finally arrives. It is at the moment of victory, with Che on his way to Havana that the first part ends.
The second part see's Che head off to mainland South America in the hope of effecting change across the continent. Starting in Bolivia he begins to start another training campaign but his deteriorating health begins to hold him back & the battle is a wholly different one to that faced in Cuba.
Soderbergh uses handheld cameras for the second half so that gone are the slow, steady sweeping shots of stunning tropical scenery to be replaced with juddering , jarring shots of claustrophobic jungle that closes in on Che as his soldiers fall and the inevitable approaches.
This was never going to be a laugh riot and sure enough as the story progresses so that dreamlike feeling returns, whereby the main character seems to be constantly running but unable to get away & becoming increasingly helpless. However he remains defiant & assured of his mission throughout.
From stunning scenery to sudden bloody battles and moments of camaraderie throughout a vivid & memorable picture is revealed of Ernesto Guervara. To this end Benicio Del Toro is quite outstanding in his portrayal of Che. No grandstanding or scene stealing here in fact quite the opposite as he plays his character as a quiet & thoughtful man, more at ease working amongst the people as a doctor yet always wishing to return to the jungle to fight once more. Ruthless yet insistant that his soldiers be literate & show respect for the peasants that they come across. The scenes with him struggling to overcome his increasingly debilitating asthma are a tribute to the subtlety and deftness of touch that this actor brings to the role. Del Toro didn't miss out on an Oscar, he was robbed!
This has been a little sidelined in the media as being 'worthy',(a euphemism for boring), and too long. True enough any film in excess of 4 hours is going to test the nerve endings in your butt however a little patience is a small price to pay for such an enjoyable & thoughtful film experience. This avoids the heavy political stance that Stone would no doubt have brought to the table,(although with such a long look at one man there was always going to be a little bias), and can easily be watched as a biopic of a true one of a kind man. Agree with his motives and ideals or not this makes for a fascinating & very watchable movie that is well worth your time.
The picture is excellent, particularly in the first half with vibrant, deep colours. The sound too is well mixed with extensive use of the sub in battle scenes and excellent separation. Too the dialogue is centered well and clearly,( a nice touch whenever Che is being interviewed off camera during a scene is the first word or two being in Spanish but then fading into English as he speaks),.
The extras are extremely poor and sound a loud warning that there is very likely to be an all bells & whistles edition at some point in the future.
Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite sure what to make of this one..., 17 April 2012
By 
Petal (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Che - Part One and Part Two [DVD] (DVD)
Our generation knows very little about Che Guavera and what he contributed to political history. So in this respect, the film was very informative. That said, it was almost like watching a documentary with very little commentary. It just seemed to drone on and on. The Spanish dialogue provided some authenticity but the subtitles were laborious to have to read for literally hours at a time. Benicio Del Toro is a good actor and while you get a clear sense of Che's political focus and determination, I didn't feel like I walked away with much insight into him as a person. The second part is a bit more interesting than the first (only because you know that the film is building up to the climax of Che's capture) but overall I left the film feeling a bit unfulfilled and dissatisfied. It is worth giving it a whirl if you are into this genre of film but I personally don't get what all the accolades were about.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating, somewhat flawed project, 14 July 2009
By 
Pablo (Co. Down/ Navarra) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Che - Part One and Part Two [DVD] (DVD)
Very much a film of two parts (two films?), part one focuses principally on the year-and-a-half leading up to the 1959 Cuban revolution and part two concentrates on Che's ill-fated year-long Bolivian adventure from 1966 to 1967. The complete omission of the intervening years is in itself a serious weakness of this film.
Part one is excellent, its success largely due to the time-shifts so often criticised. The film opens in the US in 1964 with an interview with Che in which the question is posed whether or not US-sponsored reform might not be an alternative to revolution in South America. From there we flash back to Cuba to see the brutalities of the Batista regime in 1952 and from there we shift to Mexico in 1955 where we meet the revolutionaries in exile, whose discussions of the (previously graphically-portrayed - important!) dictatorship in Cuba make it quite clear that so-called reform is not an option. The rest of part one focuses on Che's role in the Cuban revolution from 1957 to 1959 with periodic time-shifts to Che in the US in 1964. These time-shifts enable the director to convey extra dimensions to the story in a subtle and unobtrusive way. Thus the combination of Che's actions and experiences in the field combine with the US scenes to give significant insights into his ethics and philosophy, revealing a profoundly humane and practical man with an unshakeable belief in truth and justice. In the field, Che reads during his rest-break, encourages his fighters to study, and emphasises the importance of education: "a people who cannot read and write are a people easy to deceive". In Che's revolution, the people join to fight, but also to learn.
Part two is a rather rambling account of Che's Bolivian adventure which lacks the extra dimensions of the first part. It follows Che's training activities and periodic confrontations with the Bolivian army through to his demise in la valle de Yuro. It is less effective precisely because it lacks the political and ethical dimensions that the time and scene shifts create in part one. The striking Bolivian miners, for example, are referred to on a number of occasions, but never represented directly. This is a major weakness. Nor - apart from the occasional encounter with a mountain peasant - is the socio-economic reality of Bolivia conveyed to the viewer.
The high point throughout the film however is Benicio del Toro's fantastic portrayal of Che. Each nuance is perfect!
A final (slightly technical) note on translation. It is entirely to the film's credit that the Spanish-speaking characters speak Spanish and that we have English subtitles. But unfortunately the translation is adequate rather than good. It is weak on two counts. One, it just doesn't convey the colloquial register of the protagonists, especially in part one: we often get stilted, formal English equivalents. Two, the frequent emphatic expressiveness of the Cubans in particular simply doesn't come across: we get a bland, "unmarked" English translation. This seems to be because the translator shies away from marked English syntax. While English might not have the syntactic flexibility of Spanish (in the colloquial verb-subject option for example), it does have much more flexibility than this translation recognises (and as a dip into functional linguistics would reveal). In short, the translations should really be better when they are of such central importance.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Man of the revolution, 24 Mar. 2010
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Che - Part One and Part Two [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 like most biographical movies, it's something of a mixed bag. Visually atmosphere and low-key in style, the two halves of "Che" focus on 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.

Part 1: 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.

Part 2: Later in life, Guevera comes to Bolivia disguised as a bespectacled bald businessman, with the intent of fighting another revolution in that country. But this revolution doesn't go as well as the Cuban one (for Che): shortages in food, internal betrayal, and one of their contacts (Franka Potente) goofs up royally. As Guevera's health deteriorates, the Bolivian army and the CIA take measures to quash his guerilla forces...

Rather than the usual biographical movie format, Steven Soderbergh approaches "Che" 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 shakycam interview 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.

The storyline is rather slow, speeding up gradually as the revolution really heats up... only to slow back down in the second half with Guevera's decline. Most of the story is devoted to the guerillas staggering through the countryside, living in rough shacks and campsites. Even the landscapes reflect the ascent and descent of Guevera's power -- the first half is crammed with lush, vibrant jungle life, and the second is a washed-out, grey expanse of scrubby brush. Unfortunately, this means that over four hours, the story often drags like a ripped parachute.

But despite the slowness, each movie climaxes with some revolutionary action. Pinging gunshots, explosions, tanks, tense chases through deserted streets and burning trains all play a part in the harrowing finales of each half, which are all the worst 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," but his glorification and simplication of a controversial figure drags down his labor of love.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great epos about a forgotten time, 26 Aug. 2009
By 
M. Hornemann (Duesseldorf, Germany) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Che - Part One and Part Two [DVD] (DVD)
Che part One and Two are two very interesting motion pictures, which point out the rise and fall of Che and his revolutionary plans for south america.
What you have to expect is not an action or war movie, more a documentary about the revolution in Cuba and Bolivia. Nearly no music and a very slow way of story telling make it sometimes hard to watch, but the story needs its time to develop. Some critics stated, that there are no hints about Che's motives, and they are right about it, but I suppose that this help to keep up the mysterium around and about Che.

The movie is made for people, who want to know more about the Cuban revolution and Che's part in it, and who have the will to have the time and interest (no spoken english, just spanish with subtitels)
to watch it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb, 2 Aug. 2009
By 
Craddock Edwards from Bristol (bristol, uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Che - Part One and Part Two [DVD] (DVD)
Having read both Che's diaries and Fidel's verbal question and answer biography I was surprised how close this amazing film follows the truth, or what we understand to be the truth. Benicio Del Toro is completely believable as Che, Steven Soderbergh's direction is masterly and I must mention the photography which is absolutely stunning. You don't win Oscars in Hollywood, even today, by making films sympathetic to Communists but this pair of films deserved a shed load. Buy this film for your teenage kids to prove a few people, determined enough, can make a difference but buy it anyway for it's breathtaking brilliance. I usually get carried away over books not films, but this is an absolute masterpiece. 5 stars plus.
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4.0 out of 5 stars benicios hour, 23 Sept. 2009
By 
C. Clennell - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Che - Part One and Part Two [DVD] (DVD)
this is a lesson in great acting from Benicio Del Toro he is che guevara without a doubt, everyone in it is brilliant he obviously idolises him and it does come across in the film as a film is flawless, the direction is brilliant costumes perfect settings perfect acting unbelievably good none of the cast are well known apart from benicio. he not only looks like che but is him in every other way, saying that the only flaw is that che guevara has no flaws ,this is pure hero worship at the altar of che guevara .and like every human being che guevara made mistakes but they were never shown , but still a worthwhile film and great performance and well deserved award at cannes .
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soderberg's sensitive portrayal of Che is beautiful to watch, 9 July 2009
By 
Lynette Fox (Bedfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Che - Part One and Part Two [DVD] (DVD)
The media has dismissed this film but for those who do not need films to be non stop 'entertainment' it is a compelling portrait of one of the great iconic heroes of my generation. I loved it. I agree with comments that the switching timelines can be confusing - giving an episodic feel to much of the film but if you have previously read 'memoirs of a cuban revolutionary' or have an understanding of Cuban history up to the early 60s then you will soon get into it. Beautifully and sympathetically filmed - you will respect Che as a man of principle and honour who dies fighting for what he believed in. We need more heroes of his kind................
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Che - Part One and Part Two [DVD]
Che - Part One and Part Two [DVD] by Steven Soderbergh (DVD - 2009)
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