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Che (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

3.9 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

On November 26, 1956, Fidel Castro sails to Cuba with eighty rebels. One of those rebels is Ernesto "Che" Guevara, a young Argentine idealist and doctor who shares a common goal with Fidel Castro - to overthrow the corrupt dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Che proves himself an indispensable fighter, and quickly grasps the art of guerrilla warfare. As he throws himself into the struggle, Che is embraced by his comrades and the Cuban people. THE ARGENTINE tracks Che's rise in the Cuban Revolution, from doctor to commander to revolutionary hero. After the Cuban Revolution, Che is at the height of his fame and power. Then he disappears, re-emerging incognito in Bolivia, where he organizes a small group of Cuban comrades and Bolivian recruits to start the great Latin American Revolution. The story of the Bolivian campaign is a tale of tenacity, sacrifice, idealism, and of guerrilla warfare that ultimately fails, bringing Che to his death. Through this story, we come to understand how Che remains a symbol of idealism and heroism that lives in the hearts of people around the world.

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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 transfers
DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
Audio commentaries on both films, featuring Jon Lee Anderson
" Making of Che," a new documentary about the film's production
New interviews with Cuban historians
New interviews with participants in the 1958 Cuban Revolution
Deleted scenes
Theatrical trailers
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Amy Taubin and more

Product Details

  • Actors: Benicio del Toro
  • Directors: Steven Soderbergh
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT
  • DVD Release Date: January 19, 2010
  • Run Time: 261 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002U6DVNU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,585 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Che (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
All reviewers make the same mistake. They seem hell-bent on incorporating their own 'unique' political beliefs into what, ultimately, can only be liberally called a 'film review'. They like to declare how they feel about Che Guevera in the first sentence of their review, thereby rendering the entire critique baseless, biased, and ignorant. This is not a forum to debate politics nor the tenets of altruism, the film doesn't seem particularly interested in debating them either. The film is relentlessly scientific in it's depiction of the famed revolutionary, startlingly intimate in the touching-from-a-distance variety. It is a moving, humanistic effort. It does not ask you to pledge your allegiance to any political doctrine or ideology, so why do must most reviewers feel the need to do so regardless of being asked to? This is not an aggressive film about the pillars of Communism, it is a reserved and controlled character study. It is an inquiry into the revolutionary mind and soul. Not into the hive of the hammer and sickle. It is completely possible to watch a film without any political bias and this is how you must watch and experience Che. Watch it for the character study. For the free-wheeling mind of the radical and ambitious character is something that Soderbergh finds far more interesting than the motorized mechanics of national governance.

Benicio Del Toro stars as the titular character and what he brings to the table is something legendary and brave. A fearless and personal portrayal. His eyes tell a thousand stories at once, all of them of the poetic fervor. Del Toro is such a talented actor that his performance brings a documentary feel to the film. You feel as though you truly are an observer.
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Format: Blu-ray
There has been many great reviews about the movie, and I will be brief.

The movie is great, and you should see it. If you don't know much about Che, that is all the more reason for you to watch it.

I do want to express an opinion on all of the negative reviews of this movie, which are similar to the negative reviews that you will find on anything with Che or Castro as the subject... they all claim that every view is one-sided, unless it is a completely negative view. I am certainly not a one dimensional person, and if any exist...I have yet to come across them in my personal experience. There is no reason to think of people in these terms, and Che is no different.

It is very easy to be misled when we learn about other leaders around the world, while viewing US leaders through red, white, and blue lenses...we should be much more careful.

Che was not a cold blooded killer, and anybody who takes the time to attempt to understand some of the theories that he read, and subsequently implemented would see that. The vitriol of some reviewers is exactly why Che had to kill defectors from his revolution. There were many more that he let go that we never hear about. The forces opposing them were well funded and well armed...it was no different than the situation that we live in today. If you don't believe in overpowering forces, and top-down government, then you are some dangerous radical...and you may very well be to the very few who hold places of privilege, but you are not to the people around you. The people who are your neighbors going through the same struggles that you are. Che understood, and had the courage to stand up to oppression. He and Castro were also very well educated in politics. Death and destruction is what politics is...
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
To get a full picture of Che Guevara the man and icon you should watch the film by Steven Soderbergh and listen to the audio commentary by Jon Lee Anderson, who wrote the book Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life (1997).
The film compares favorably to the epics Lawrence of Arabia by David Lean and Gandhi by Richard Attenborough. It is beautifully filmed and features outstanding acting by Benicio del Toro as Che and a dead-on portrayal of Fidel by Demian Bichir. Although it is 4 1/2 hours long, there are gaps in the film which need to be filled in and Jon Lee Anderson does this, as well as providing a different perspective. I have seen many film commentaries; this is the best so far. Anderson's commentary is deep and as compelling as the film itself. It answers many questions that arise from watching the film.
There are by necessity gaps in all the great film epics. The complete story of Che could not be told in 4 1/2 hours, but in Anderson's commentary much missing information is added. For example, Anderson points out that in Cuba Che was ruthless and made a practice of killing all prisoners, but in Bolivia he did not, and those he released came back to haunt him. He also explains that Cuba was ripe for revolution but Bolivia, which had a long history of unsuccessful revolutions, was not. Also, the leadership in Cuba was united under Fidel Castro but in Bolivia was badly fragmented.
Whether you like this film or not may depend upon your politics, as is evidenced by the reviews written so far. But I think Soderbergh has done his best to provide a fair and accurate portrayal of Che the man, warts and all.
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Che (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
This item: Che (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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