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Che (The Criterion Collection)

56 customer reviews

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(Jan 19, 2010)
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The Criterion Collection
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Far from a conventional biopic, Steven Soderberghs film about Che Guevara is a fascinating exploration of the revolutionary as icon. Daring in its refusal to make the socialist leader into an easy martyr or hero,CHE paints a vivid, naturalistic portrait of the man himself (with a stunning, Cannes-award-winning performance by Benicio del Toro), from his overthrow of the Batista dictatorship, to his 1964 United Nations trip, to the end of his short life. Originally released in two parts, the first a kaleido-scopic view of the Cuban revolution and the second an all-action dramatization of Ches failed campaign in Bolivia, Che is presented here in its complete form.

Stills from Che (Click for larger image)

Lauded for its documentary approach yet also experimental in nature, Steven Soderbergh's Che spends over four hours chronicling different phases in the revolutionary career of Che Guevara (Benicio Del Toro). In Che: Part One, the successful Cuban campaign is covered, interspersed with glimpses of Guevara's camera-ready visit to New York in the Castro Revolution's aftermath. This section can't help but approximate the outline of a battle epic, despite Soderbergh's anti-romantic approach, and ends up being a stirring account of guerrilla action (it also has the bonus of Demian Bechir's uncanny impersonation of Fidel Castro). Che: Part Two jumps ahead to Che's grueling later experiences in Bolivia, where he traveled to aid the homegrown insurgents but found much less fertile ground than in Cuba. Here Guevara is--figuratively and visually--lost in the jungle, as Soderbergh reduces the characters and story to a series of factual sequences laid end-to-end. It's not Dr. Zhivago, that's for sure, although it does last longer. By spotlighting two specific sections of Che's life, Soderbergh sidesteps the less heroic aspects of his struggle, including the executions that followed the Cuban Revolution (omissions that brought criticism from anti-Castro Cubans). But the film's approach is so intentionally flat that such criticisms are almost not worth the trouble. And while Benicio Del Toro sinks into the role of the asthmatic jungle fighter with total commitment, his Guevara is an elusive protagonist, seen from a distance except for the scenes in which he's being turned into a celebrity during his NYC interlude. In short, Che is a very intriguing idea for a movie, and not a terribly engaging film. --Robert Horton

Special Features

High-definition digital masters, supervised and approved by director Steven Soderbergh, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
New audio commentaries featuring Jon Lee Anderson, author of Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life
Making “Che,” a new documentary featuring Soderbergh, producer Laura Bickford, actor-producer Benicio del Toro, and writers Peter Buchman and Ben van der Veen
Interviews with participants in and historians of the Cuban Revolution and Che’s Bolivian campaign
End of a Revolution, a short documentary made in Bolivia right after Che’s execution in 1967
“Che” and the Digital Cinema Revolution, an original video piece looking at the RED camera and its effect on modern film production
Deleted scenes
A booklet featuring an essay by critic Amy Taubin

Product Details

  • Actors: Julia Ormond, Benicio Del Toro, Oscar Isaac, Pablo Guevara, Franklin Díaz
  • Directors: Steven Soderbergh
  • Writers: Benjamin A. van der Veen, Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, Peter Buchman
  • Producers: Benicio Del Toro, Belén Atienza, Brahim Chioua, Cristina Zumárraga
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: January 19, 2010
  • Run Time: 261 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002U6DVO4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,635 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Che (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Robert Blake on April 20, 2010
Format: DVD
Steven Soderbergh's "Che" is one of those rare films where you'll either like it or hate it. It is not a conventional biography, it isn't even a conventional movie. Soderbergh is not interested in presenting a loud, thundering film about the icon Che Guevara, but instead he wants to provide an almost scientific analysis of a man driven by an idea and the campaigns he engaged in. Like Sofia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette," this isn't a movie interested in bold political statements, it is simply trying to present events as they are known to have happened. It doesn't matter much whether you're a right-winger or a leftist, Soderbergh doesn't champion or attack Che's political views or goals, he simply presents a man's actions.

Benicio Del Toro (Traffic, 21 Grams) plays Guevara with an uncanny resemblance and a powerful presence. We meet him in Mexico City in the 1950s where he meets a group of Cuban exiles plotting the overthrow of the US-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. It is here that Guevara meets Fidel Castro (played by Mexican actor Demian Bichir) who lectures him on the dire conditions for Cuba's poor and convinces him to join the revolutionary expedition sailing back to the island on the famous Granma boat. Soderbergh intercuts the jungle campaign in Cuba with black and white passages capturing Guevara's 1964 visit to the UN General Assembly where he delivered one of the most blistering anti-colonial speeches of the era. This sections feel large in scope while the Cuban scenes feel very intimate as Guevara trains guerrillas, engages in firefights with Batista's troops and brings medical services to poor villages where many people had never seen a doctor before in their lives.
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47 of 61 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 28, 2009
Format: DVD
Steven Soderbergh created one of those movies that is lucky to have been made at all -- a four-hour-plus biopic of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara.

But like most biographical movies, it's something of a mixed bag. Visually atmosphere and low-key in style, the two halves of "Che" focus on pivotal slices of Guevara's life, with an amazing lead performance by Benicio Del Toro as the titular revolutionary. Unfortunately, it's also a very slow-moving affair that brushes past some of the more unsavory facets of Che Guevara's life and personality... and ironically many of the positive ones.

Part 1: In the 1960s, Guevara (Benicio Del Toro) is in New York City for a UN conference, being interviewed by a US reporter about his viewpoints as a guerilla leader and revolutionary. Then the narrative jumps back a decade to when he and others (including Fidel Castro) consider the many injustices over in Cuba and start planning for a revolution. Despite being Argentinian by birth, Che follows them to Cuba and joins the guerilla revolution.

But despite his start as a medic, Che began showing talents in other areas, and becomes a leader of the guerilla outlaws in the Cuban countryside. He grapples with his own ill health (asthma), the loss of his compatriots and the attacks from the military, which also threaten some of the non-revolutionaries -- and as time goes on, their revolution gained power and notice, and began the ultimate battle for control of Cuba.

Part 2: Later in life, Guevera comes to Bolivia disguised as a bespectacled bald businessman, with the intent of fighting another revolution in that country.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By dman on January 7, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I thought this movie was fantastic. I'm not really into politics and don't really have an opinion if Che was a good or bad person. As far as it being a movie- the story, directing, scenery, acting- this was done with the highest of quality. Non Hollywood-like which what matters to me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Gray on November 16, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Technically significant; being the first major movie made with the RED video camera which requires much less light. The quality of this DVD set is excellent with informative supplements, especially when showing how the director himself filmed with the RED and edited on just his laptop.
Best actor award at Cannes is the "cherry on top" for this excellent and, for me, "fair" bio-pick, which picks up after the film "Motorcycle Diaries"."
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert D. Russell on October 6, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I stumbled on this movie on cable half way thru the first disc. I knew instantly that I had to buy this movie. This amazingly accurate and well acted biography of Che Guevara is a must have for anyone who either admires Che or just wishes to know more about the Cuban Revolution and the continuing struggles in this hemisphere. Technically it's one of the most beautifully filmed movies I've ever seen.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul Hosse on July 4, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Although the movie is not English (really, would you want it to be?), it was very well done. Both informative and hightly entertaining with excellent use of subtitle, although the acting, which is supurb, really says it all. The special effects are realistic amid beautiful backdrops. The supporting cast only adds to the realism of the movie. I would strong recommend this movie ot anyone interested the Ernesto "Che" Guevara, the man before be became the legend and whose iconic picture came to adorn just about every campus dorm in the West during the late 60's and early 70's. Anyone interested in Castro, Cuba, or the events of the late 1950's and the 1960's which changed the world as it changed a generation would enjoy the film as well.
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