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Movie Review: Che Part Two

The second look at the revolutionary activities of Ernesto “Che” Guevara is a little more in your face.

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After the observational distance of Part One, the second look at the revolutionary activities of Ernesto “Che” Guevara is a little more in your face. That said, the mystery of why Guevara left Cuba and renounced his citizenship---and his second wife and children---is never reasonably explained. Instead we’re in the Bolivian jungle, as Guevara trains a ragtag militia in the name of communist revolution. Without the New York sequences to leaven the combat as in Part One, the picture is frequently beautiful---director Steven Soderbergh doing his own cinematography as “Peter Andrews”---but rarely offers much historical context. Facing off against an army trained by “American advisors” and missing the core support of the populace, the end result of Che’s efforts should be obvious to most early on---remember how Butch and Sundance fared in Bolivia? But the success of the campaign seems to matter less to Guevara than the struggle itself, certainly less than his own life. Taken together, Soderbergh’s films are a fascinating diptych in the docudrama style of The Battle of Algiers, with a career performance by Benicio Del Toro, but there’s an argument to be made that a three-hour single feature would have been more effective than two two-hour movies, sparing us some of the longish jungle work.

Related Film

Che Part Two

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Peter Buchman and Steven Soderbergh

Producer: Laura Bickford and Benicio Del Toro

Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Demián Bichir, Santiago Cabrera, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Julia Ormond, Lou Diamond Phillips, Franka Potente, Edgar Ramirez, Victor Rasuk and Rodrigo Santoro

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