Che: Parts One & Two (2008) | Cinema

Unless you like wasting both time and money, don’t pay the two separate admissions just to suffer through Che: Parts One and Two in the theater. If you insist on seeing them both, wait until you are at home with fast forward and pause firmly in your control.

From seven-ten to half-past midnight (with a thirty minute intermission) I sat through probably the toughest wait I’ve had in a while, and that includes a back-to-back transcontinental with a transatlantic flight in coach. Che: Parts One and Two are the same crammed into cattle-space with people you don’t know, combined with nothing-to-do experience you get flying coach from LA to NY. Only you can’t just drink and go to sleep, read, or watch a film. This was the film.

I like both Soderbergh and Benicio del Toro, so I wanted to sit through this, but it hurt. The acting was actually well done. The art direction, cinematography, and other elements were also well done. The visual and sound editing were really challenging. I don’t feel it revealed anything we didn’t already know about the life of Che, his role in the Cuban revolution, or the botched Bolivian one. It might have been trying to do an unadorned, straight portrayal of his life and the history, but it wasn’t really a documentary and I wasn’t entertained either. I felt so abused and robbed when I walked out of there I had to sit down and write this just to get over it.

There was no sound track. I can accept that maybe this was a creative choice for making the film, but having to roll through credits twice, also without sound both times, seems as if they didn’t actually expect anyone to be able to sit through credits after such a long wait for the film to just end.  The theater I go to has a bar and it’s a good thing I didn’t have a drink beforehand otherwise it would have been impossible to make it through both parts without passing out or going to the restroom. What I should have done is downed a Red Bull at intermission instead of lying to myself that Part Two would be better. It was the same shaky, hand-held, gunfire in the field shots combined with sparse dialogue and no music. I understand the purity of just telling a story through visuals, but did this have to go on for more than five hours in two separate films? I’d like to believe that Soderbergh had some kind of grudge against the studio and wanted to punish them in some way by shooting as much film, taking the longest time, and making full use of any final edit privileges he might have had, because I can’t figure out another justification for this outrageously indulgent suck of time.

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