A REVOLUTIONARY LIFE.
An undeniably ambitious project, this epic tries to capture the life of the famous Cuban rebel Ernesto ”Che” Guevara, devoting two hours to his and Castro’s successful campaign to oust Batista in the 1950s, then another two hours to his attempt to bring the revolution to Bolivia. Interspersed are scenes from a 1964 visit to the U.N. where Che is far removed from the jungle. Benicio Del Toro has the right charisma for the part. Credibly staged, but we don’t learn anything at all about Guevara from this four-hour jungle excursion.
2008-U.S.-Spain-France. 269 min. Color-B/W. Widescreen. Directed and photographed by Steven Soderbergh. Music: Alberto Iglesias. Cast: Benicio Del Toro (Ernesto ”Che” Guevara), Demián Bichir (Fidel Castro), Elvira Mínguez (Celia Sanchez), Rodrigo Santoro, Santiago Cabrera, Jorge Perugorría… Julia Ormond, Franka Potente, Lou Diamond Phillips, Matt Damon.
Trivia: Co-produced by Del Toro. Val Kilmer and Ryan Gosling were reportedly considered for parts; before Soderbergh entered the picture, Terrence Malick worked on a script. When shown as two separate films, the titles are Che: The Argentine (134 min.) and Che: The Guerrilla (135 min.).
Cannes: Best Actor (Del Toro).