Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies...

Che: Part 1 & 2 (2008) - Soderbergh
With Jon Lee Anderson, the author of Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, as a primary consultant, Soderbergh presents perhaps the most dispassionate biopic I've ever seen, in two parts. He cherry picks from the revolutionary's life, first the Cuban Revolution up to the takeover then jumps to Bolivia where Guevara meets his untimely end- It should've been dubbed as The Rise and Fall of Che.

Soderbergh's approach is all reasonable and sound. Given its heady subject matter, the more I think about it, his all out objectivity is/should be the only logical conclusion for anyone's attempt at the screen adaptation. Benicio Del Toro seems comfortable in the role who was the disciplinarian and the moral core of the cause rather than personable human being. But for the true revolutionary who exclaimed the love for the common men, the film lacks any kind of emotional resonance. Not that it's not compelling: each part devotes itself to a long grueling combat scene- Bolivian part more so as Asthma stricken Che struggles to keep up with the rest of the group.

I never quite understand Soderbergh's infatuation with technology. Throughout his spotty filmography, his insistence on trying new 'look' never worked for me. I hated the look of Che, especially the second one. It's not as ridiculous as Traffic's blue and orange dichotomy, but the bluey, dreary exterior comes across as amateurish at best.

Che was not quite the disaster I was expecting. But it was far from satisfying experience. Parts of his life I was interested in the most- his Congo campaign and his role in after-the-takeover of Cuba were excluded. It's interesting to see what's going on in Latin America right now, especially Bolivia where his failed attempt at igniting its people to the revolutionary cause, with its almost biblical implications.