Nearly five hours in length and anchored by a lead performance from Benicio Del Toro, Steven Soderbergh’s Che looks from the outside like an exciting epic about a charismatic revolutionary. In reality, it’s a demanding work of cinematic structuralism that eschews most of the conventions of both the war film and the biopic. In paring down his take on his controversial subject, and in avoiding most of the simplistic political jingoism that would seem inherent in such a project, Soderbergh probably cuts too close to the bone. His film essentially presents only two extended, verite-style recreations of Guevara’s Cuban and Bolivian insurgencies. What’s left is an exercise in formal rigor that’s in the service of not much else. While the sheer idiosyncrasy of Che makes it something of a must-see work, it’s likely that Soderbergh’s approach will alienate the vast majority of viewers.
Rating: 50 /100
["The Argentine" - 38 / "Guerilla" - 57]