Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
Spain/France/USA, 2008. Wild Bunch, Telecinco, Laura Bickford Productions, Morena Films, Ministerio de Cultura, Guerrilla Films, Londra Films P&D, Pucara Films. Screenplay by Peter Buchman, Benjamin A. van der Been,based on Bolivian Diary by Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara. Cinematography by Steven Soderbergh. Produced by Laura Bickford, Benicio Del Toro. Music by Alberto Iglesias. Production Design by Antxon Gomez, Philip Messina. Costume Design by Bina Daigeler. Film Editing by Pablo Zumarraga.
The biographical look at the revolutionary who made his name in the Cuban revolution is continued in this complete change of pace from Part One. Director Steven Soderbergh even employs a different aspect ratio as he switches from the burning sun of the Caribbean island to the cold, mountainous regions of Bolivia, where Guevara is sent by Castro to mobilize the downtrodden, poor natives to rise up against wealthy oligarchs and take back their country. Unfortunately, Bolivia is nothing like Cuba: poverty is not highly concentrated as it was on the tiny island, the pressure building to explosion. In this country everything is remotely located and it takes very little for Che and his woefully underfunded people to get completely lost in the wilderness. Dry, subtly toned and often wordless, this second half probably won’t be audiences’ preferred chapter in Soderbergh’s epic but is still a strong piece of work: the naturalism really takes over as you start feeling yourself living this man’s life right alongside him, even though the details of his character are much more lost in the background than they were the first time around.
The Criterion Collection: #496
Cannes Film Festival Award: Best Actor (Benicio Del Toro)
Toronto International Film Festival: 2008