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Che (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

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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 Che's 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 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)
  • DVD Release Date: January 19, 2010
  • Run Time: 261 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002U6DVNU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,622 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Che (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

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 62 people found the following review helpful By E. A 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mad Zack on July 30, 2014
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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Che (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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