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Che (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

53 customer reviews

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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 (53 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002U6DVNU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,743 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Che (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 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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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Zarathustra on February 10, 2010
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. on February 28, 2010
Format: DVD
I've read reviews on this film before purchasing it and since most of them have been negative, I've passed on the film numerous times. Thankfully I decided to give it a chance one day and make up my own mind about it. What I found was not a great film but not a horrible film either. I mean hasn't Soderbergh's film Che also got mixed reviews? I know people who didn't care for that one either. I personally think Soderbergh's was a more complete and solid take on Che's revolutionary life. But I wouldn't necessarily discredit Josh Evans' contibution.

So what if Eduardo Noriega is a handsome guy I mean I feel he did his best to play the part as honestly and convincingly as he can. I find him to be a good actor who has taken on many great roles in the past.

Overall, this was not a disappointing film for me and sometimes I think it's hard to satisfy these Che fanatics who are quite anal about anything that deals with communism. To break it down more evenly, I think Che himself must be rolling over in his grave knowing that the more prominent films made on his life are financed by the good ol' USA.

U know what, I'll give this one a 5 stars rating.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 27, 2008
Format: DVD
CHE as written, directed, and produced by Josh Evans is an amateurish attempt to present the life of one of the more interesting revolutionary figures of the 20th century - Ernesto 'Che' Guevarade la Serna, the Argentinean physician who searched for meaning in his view of the world and joined Fidel Castro in overthrowing the dictatorship of Cuba. Despite the presence of the fine actor Eduardo Noriega in the title role and Sonia Braga in a cameo role as Celia, Che's mother, the film is plagued by simplistic dialogue, lack of momentum, choppy editing, and a large cast that would have been a bit more credible had the film been shot in Spanish - the language of all of the actors. Josh Evans provides no insights as to the person of Che or his motivations, but instead relies on the viewer's knowledge of the period to provide the missing lapses in story line. And while many may feel that Che was the more important force in the idealism of the revolution than the leader Fidel Castro, it is doubtful that Castro was as tepid and uninspiring a figure as actor Enrico Lo Verso and the pathetic script make him appear.

With the 'other CHE' of Steven Soderbergh with Benicio Del Toro and a stellar cast due for release soon, it is not surprising that this amateurish film was released direct to DVD. The story and the actors deserve better treatment. Grady Harp, August 08
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Che (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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