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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 great films...
Cant recommend this highly enough. Incredible directing, acting and cinematography lavished on a story worthy of the time, money and effort. It's film making that credits the viewer with intelligence and doesn't dumb down like so many Hollywood films do. Ramirez is superb as the preening,narcissistic international terrorist come international playboy. The film feels...
Published on 12 Nov 2010 by BigRich

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More of a (very long) dramaticised documentary than a film
This is a biopic of Venezuelan Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, later to become better known as Carlos the Jackal - although he is never referred to as The Jackal at any time in this very long film. A committed Marxist-Leninist idealist, Carlos is widely regarded as one of the most famous political terrorists of his era. When he joined the Popular Front for the...
Published on 20 Oct 2012 by OEJ & SKY


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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 great films..., 12 Nov 2010
By 
BigRich (Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Carlos The Jackal (Complete) [DVD] (DVD)
Cant recommend this highly enough. Incredible directing, acting and cinematography lavished on a story worthy of the time, money and effort. It's film making that credits the viewer with intelligence and doesn't dumb down like so many Hollywood films do. Ramirez is superb as the preening,narcissistic international terrorist come international playboy. The film feels worthy of Oscars though whether it will be classified as a movie or tv im not sure. At 6 hours long you set off thinking it could be a struggle to get through but it absolutely flies by. There is a shorter version i believe but why miss out on seeing it as the director intended it to be seen? If you liked Bourne Identity, Mesrine, Syriana or anything of that ilk you should love this.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The French are good at this sort of film, 1 Dec 2010
By 
Roy Brookes "roybrookes" (Hamburg, Germany) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Carlos The Jackal (Complete) [DVD] (DVD)
This film is a tour de force by a gifted director and a brilliant new actor. It is 350 minutes long and split into 3 episodes over 3 DVDs, but I was sorry when it ended. Edgar Ramirez played the central character of Carlos with so much understated style and simmering violence, he was fascinating to watch. I have lived through Carlos' entire career, some of the time in Paris, and this film is so believable. It is not a documentary. The director himself points out in an interview on disc 3 that it is part fact, part fiction, because he had to fictionalise events that are not documented, but it is evident that he had a lot of research material to work from. For many years the authorities had only one indistinct photograph of Carlos, who was also a master of disguise and a chameleon who could change his appearance, and, of course, changed naturally over the years. That is all apparent in this film. The man matures as the film progresses but his basic nature does not change. He was dangerous. He scares people but also excites them. He used the media to his own ends. He was a marxist, he said, and later converted to Islam but one always has the impression that he really only believes in himself and his own agenda. He and his faithful German sidekick Weinrich would visit their paymasters looking like a couple of businessmen doing a deal, and they had contacts throughout the world of revolutionaries, from Moscow to Tripoli, East Germany to the Basque territories. They used the Stasi by playing the Soviet card when it suited them; they used terror to browbeat the Hungarian secret service into cooperating with them. They used the PFLP as a cover for some of their worst atrocities such as the killings in the Rue Marbeuf in Paris, or the OPEC kidnappings in Vienna. The interaction between Carlos and Sheikh Yamani is a superb little vignette, played against a background of unremitting violence.

A word about language. It is billed as being in French with English subtitles. In fact everyone speaks their own language, so much of the film actually takes place in English. There are sequences in Arabic, in Spanish, in German, in French and in other languages. Carlos speaks Arabic with Arabs, French with Frenchmen, German with Germans, Spanish with South Americans and English with almost everyone else. All except the English sequences are subtitled in English, but as I speak French and German in addition to my native English and understand Spanish and some Arabic it was no trouble for me to follow everything. The body language and continuity also contribute to the flow. My German girlfriend had no trouble following it either.

Edgar Ramirez with his multilingualism and his quiet-spoken manner interspersed with outbreaks of terrifying violence is a great discovery. He plays Carlos so convoncingly that it is easy to forget that he is acting. This from a man in his first rôle is amazing. Despite its length I shall watch this film again and again. It is spellbinding. It is worthy of general release but is too long for the cinema. Canal+ made it for TV but it is a crossover between TV and cinema. It is reminiscent of the Baader Meinhof Complex and Mesrine both of which have comparable qualities, but, in my view, it surpasses both of these admirable productions. As I said at the beginning, a tour de force, a major work that deserves a wide audience. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray details, 21 Dec 2011
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If you like your recent history in Cinemascope with very good cast and excellent production design, this is for you.
Audio is multilingual (with English subs; yes, subs are defeatable!), ca. 50% English spoken.

Number of discs: 3
Film: 8,5/10
Picture quality: 8/10
Aspect ratio: 2,35:1 (orig.)
Run time (24fps)
Episode:
1. 1:44'01"
2. 1:51'54"
3. 2:03'27"
- movie version: 2:45'15" (orig.: 3:05' approx.)

Audio = multilingual (GB,F,E,D,H,RUS,Arabic etc.)
ST: GB o/-
Chpt.: 12
Region B (A; C?)
Bonus:
- Making-Of, 21'14" HD
- Interviews (F; ST: GB):
-- Edgar Ramirez, 4'49"
-- Olivier Assayas, 19'55"
Studio: Canal/Optimum
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating film but subtitles are inadequate. The Blu-ray transfer is good, 28 Jan 2011
By 
John Chandler (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This is a fascinating film and Edgar Ramirez does a remarkable job as Carlos. The casting is generally excellent with a huge variety of different linguistic and ethnic parts played with an astonishing degree of accuracy, even their English accents, when they speak English, matches reality. The one fault, and it is a major fault, is the decision to only subtitle when English is not spoken. There is hardly a native English part anywhere and most English accents are very thick and hard to understand even for those that may be familiar with such accents. For those that have little experience in this field, large parts of the English dialoge, (which could be as high as 20% of the total), is extremely hard to follow. A real shame. I have marked down the final rating purely because of this serious shortcoming. The Blu-ray transfer, which is spread over 3 discs, includes the shortened cinema version as well as the full 5 hour plus version, and is pretty good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More of a (very long) dramaticised documentary than a film, 20 Oct 2012
By 
OEJ & SKY - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Carlos The Jackal (Complete) [DVD] (DVD)
This is a biopic of Venezuelan Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, later to become better known as Carlos the Jackal - although he is never referred to as The Jackal at any time in this very long film. A committed Marxist-Leninist idealist, Carlos is widely regarded as one of the most famous political terrorists of his era. When he joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in 1970, recruiting officer Bassam Abu Sharif gave him the code name "Carlos" because of his South American roots. After several bungled bombings, Carlos achieved notoriety for the 1975 raid on the OPEC headquarters in Vienna, which killed three people. This was followed by a string of attacks against Western targets. For many years he was among the most wanted international fugitives. Carlos was dubbed "The Jackal" by The Guardian newspaper after one of its correspondents reportedly spotted Frederick Forsyth's 1971 novel The Day of the Jackal near some of the fugitive's belongings.

It's good and worth watching to the end, by which time I was beginning to realise how much I had enjoyed Mesrine more - a film with which 'Carlos' is often compared - because while Edgar Ramirez (as Carlos) does a better than decent job in the central role, ultimately he or the role he plays lacks the charisma of Vincent Kassel in Mesrine, which has better credentials as a cinematic film. Carlos (as a film) is interesting rather than entertaining, and since his demise is relatively well-known, the ending was rather less gripping than much of what had gone before.

The musical score is slightly distracting at times, seeming rather out of place with the 1970s and 1980s. The set-pieces of Paris, Syria and Libya in the 70s and 80s were, I thought, very well portrayed and authentic.

In the end, Ramírez just about carries the film as he is obliged to do, but it's not the memorable experience of such comparable tales as De Niro (as Jake la Motta) in Raging Bull, nor Kassell as Mesrine. Once you take Ramírez out of the picture and analyse what else is on offer, it's probably a little too faithful to actual or alleged events to make for entertaining dramatic fare. I'd give it 3.5 stars for being halfway between 'it's OK' and 'I like it'.

So get those pizzas ordered, and maybe a few beers, because this will be a long watch - just about a worthwhile one though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get the complete 5hr Carlos., 29 Nov 2012
This review is from: Carlos The Jackal [DVD] (DVD)
Carlos the jackal is definately a great film with an excellent lead and cast, great direction and score. However I regret watching this version as you do notice that it has been edited down from the 5hr version. That's the version that should be seen. This version is only 2hrs 38mins.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amateurs, 29 Aug 2011
By 
W. Rodick (Cheshire, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Carlos The Jackal (Complete) [DVD] (DVD)
Be careful about considering this to be a well made film. Its not. Were it works really well is as a text of the political climate in the 1970s and 1980s. It is extremely good at portraying hollow characters. Individuals who are fervent, seemingly radical and committed are changed for the most basic of reasons: fear for their own lives or the loss of their identity when removed from their 'friends.'

Even our protagonist is as mercenary in his ideology as he is in his employment. Hollow words like 'imperialism,' or 'Marxism' are never understood as a particular goal to reach. Where does he want to be? How does he want people to be? The words cover the issues and say nothing. He would have made a good politician. Of course this is a film made by and for western media culture, so the truth is incidental to 'a good story.'

Watching the film in the light of the evolution of anti-State violence is fascinating. Now we know suicide bombers are part of the political process. And we know natural recourses are the bottom line: oil and gas. Watch Carlos The Jackal and consider the Arab Spring. The film covers the end of the USSR and the collapse of the Berlin wall. These incidents seem to take our protagonists by surprise. They are detached. They are invariably young and seeking nothing but high-octane danger. They are, therefore, media bunnies.

I mentioned that this is not a well made film. Perhaps I am a little strong with this statement. I loved the use of the jump-cut technique in Part One of the film. It captures the excitement of the process of an incident unfolding. Being a fan of A Certain Ratio, New Order and The Cure I should have loved the soundtrack but the music was too often tacked-on to scenes which could easily have been cut from the film. The dialogue suffered from not having subtitles when the characters are speaking English, and much of the five and a half hours are spoken English.

'Oppression' and 'control' are mysterious words in any language. They imply a need for 'justice.' But who writes the words? Who speaks and prints the words? Just ordinary individuals like you and me. Ideology is dead. Long live those who say hello to strangers. That way peace comes. Peace of mind.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent biopic, 30 April 2011
This review is from: Carlos The Jackal [DVD] (DVD)
It takes patience to sit through this historical movie due to its long drawn out attention to detail, both politically and biographically. An interest in the character himself is essential otherwise its meandering story line holds no power.

The period pieces are excellently produced and Édgar Ramírez offers the viewer a convincing depiction of Ilich Ramírez Sánchez. Other cast members excelled themselves and the screenplay was tempered by a seeming desire not to glamorise the 'Jackel' or his activities (interestingly, at no time is the term 'Jackel' mentioned in the film).

Non-sensational, intelligent and throughly absorbing, this film compliments similar offerings such as 'Mesrine' and 'The Baader-Meinhof Complex'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Revolutionary or Cynic?, 14 Mar 2011
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Carlos The Jackal (Complete) [DVD] (DVD)
Carlos is the Venezuelan revolutionary who left his university studies in Moscow in 1970 and travelled straight to Beirut to join the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He got his nickname from the Frederick Forsyth novel "The Day of the Jackal." This film is shot in three parts for television, a five-hour and 33-minute production. It is an achievement that shows the way countries use criminals to further their international goals. The film is informative, it also offers drama with excitement, suspense, and tragedy.

The film is based on research by Oliver Assayas, co-writer Dan Franck and producer Daniel Leconte. The film is presented as fiction because so much of the life of Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, who became known as Carlos, remains unknown. It spans the time from 1975 through 1994. This is a powerful film and Edgar Ramierz takes on the role of Carlos with great effectiveness. He ages from a young hot bloodied man to a middle-age businessman with a nice little pot belly, and then goes through a period when he is lean and muscular after training in Syria. His looks change as does his moustache, beard and hair, and yet he is Carlos if you take a good look.

His major operation was the OPEC raid in 1974. He and his small cadre took 42 hostages and demanded an airplane to take them to Algiers. No country wanted him to land. And, this took him to Baghdad and Tripoli before returning to Algiers. The man known as Carlos said that Marxism was his religion and that he was dedicated to the Palestinian cause. He used his ideology primarily to dominate others. Toward the end, even his superiors in the Palestinian liberation movement were fed up with him, and after exhausting the hospitality of Libya, Syria and Iraq, he became a man without a country. He used women to feed his ego, and they seemed attracted to him. One wife had a child with him, but left him because she realized the child had no future living with Carlos.

I must say that if I was a smoker, I would have quit after viewing this film. I have never seen more smoking in a movie. Every character smokes heavily, and Carlos constantly. The smoking may have had some symbolism, but it escapes me. The smoking became a distraction.

This is a film about an individual with a flair for terrorism and some sort of feeling for revolution. I remember reading in the papers and various spy novels about Carlos over the years. He seemed a mysterious, dangerous individual, who was a killer for hire. And, that is essentially what he became. His small group that fought with him, were either imprisoned or died, and he is once again the lone Carlos waiting his time behind bars.

Recommended. prisrob 06-24-13
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars watch the full length trilogy!!, 4 Jan 2011
This review is from: Carlos The Jackal [DVD] (DVD)
having watched this cinema 160 minute cut of 'carlos' i am left with one feeling. what did he do to attract so much notoriety? carlos the jackal was an infamous figure from the 70/80s, whose mug i remember seeing regularly on the news. he disapeared a while back and i didnt know if hed died or was in prison. because of this i was hugely looking forward to this release, only because french cinema is one of the finest and classiest in the world. would this be like the spanish language 'che' with benicio del toro, or 'mesrine' with vincent cassel. like these films its essentially the rise and fall of another infamous figure.
according to this short version, carlos didnt do much except kill some people, hijack a plane, and then bum around from one arab country to another looking for asylum. there was infamy, but brief, and certainly not a careers worth of the legend. we're not told why he felt an affinity with the palestinian cause from the zionist onslaught of the 70's on their land, or indeed, why he chose his course of violence.
im sure the full length feature which runs at some 5 1/2 hours fills in the gaps s youre waiting for him to do...something, and he doesnt. saying that i will say that like all french films, this one oozes style, and the acting is top drawer, especially edgar ramirez as carlos. it is very well made, but one is left with the feeling of why they bothered shortening it when they could have released it as a 2-parter like 'che' and 'mesrine'.
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