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Che - Parts 1&2 [Blu-ray]

4.2 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews

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Both installments of Steven Soderbergh's two-part 'Che' epic, a political drama based on the memoirs of Che Guevara starring Benicio del Toro as the iconic revolutionary. The first part follows events in late 1950s Cuba, when Che and a band of Cuban exiles led by Fidel Castro (Demian Bichir) set out for Cuba from Mexico and, over the next two years, mobilise an army in order to topple the US-supported dictatorship of Fulgenzio Batista. In the second part, Guevara moves on to foment revolutions in both Africa and South America, ending up in the mountains of Bolivia while being pursued by CIA-backed counter-insurgency raiders.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
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.
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By Friarofdoom TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Jun. 2009
Format: 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.
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Format: 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.

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