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Carlos 2010

NR
3.8 out of 5 stars (39) IMDb 7.7/10

Olivier Assayas electrified the Cannes Film Festival with CARLOS, his epic and definitive portrait of the notorious international terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal, who masterminded a wave of terror attacks in Europe and the Middle East in the '70s and '80s.

Starring:
Edgar Ramírez, Alexander Scheer
Runtime:
2 hours, 45 minutes

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Fascinating 5 hour plus, 3 part film about Carlos the Jackal (although he never called himself that) the headline grabbing terrorist of the 70s and 80s. Never stopping for exposition, or to ‘explain’ how Carlos got to be is who he is, we’re dropped into a whirlwind of violence, self-aggrandizement, sexual seduction, and power games -- all moving at an almost dizzying speed. The film allows us to slowly figure out Carlos for ourselves, instead of explaining him in a simple or facile way.

While never sympathetic, somehow the amazing Edgar Rameriez allows us to feel for this id and ego driven creature, who would never admit it even to himself, but who was powered far more by the need for attention and adulation (whether with women or terrorism) than by true belief.

The film only grew in stature for me on a second viewing, which cemented it’s intelligence and unique perspective in managing to keep us caught up not only in Carols, but in the angry, violent, crazy, desperate and lost people around him, and to keep them all human enough to stay absorbed by, without forgiving their grievous sins. A beautiful walking of the tightrope of empathy but not sympathy.

The last 1/3 is the most challenging section. Carlos’s slow decline into ineffectiveness and unimportance is slower, and less viscerally exciting. But this seems unavoidable after the high paced rush of the first two parts and also seems part of the point of the film, Without his fixes of women and power there wasn’t really much to Carlos and with those gone both he - and eventually we - want it to be over.

This is a challenging, brilliantly acted, wonderfully made film, that gives context both to modern terrorism and recent world history.
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Format: Blu-ray
More than any other film in 2010, Olivier Assayas "Carlos" has made the rounds. This comprehensive biopic about renowned Venezuelan terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez (also known as Carlos) has swept the globe in various editions at various lengths. Shown on the film festival circuit (Cannes, Telluride, New York) largely intact and running over 5 hours, there is also an international film version (or more than one) clocking in at about 3 hours, a U.S. film presentation in two parts, and there is the U.S. television mini-series presentation (by Sundance Channel) that came with three distinct parts and ran about 5 and a half hours. For the purposes of this discussion, I will be referencing the U.S. mini-series presentation because, at least in length, it seems to be the definitive and comprehensive version and the edition Criterion is covering in the Director's Approved release. However, we in the U.S. still seem to be confused about whether we call this a film or a TV event with Golden Globe and Screen Actor Guild nominations in the TV categories but the Los Angeles and New York film critics distinguishing "Carlos" in the film classification. In the end, however, it's all really semantics--I just wanted to make a big deal as there are many different versions of the film floating on the international DVD market. Criterion is bringing forth the full length film that Assayas envisioned.

Telling the story of Carlos, better known as "The Jackal" (even though the screenplay never acknowledges this nickname), the film has much to say about the rise of terrorism and its evolution into the modern political structure. I really do think "Carlos" is well served by the separation in the three part presentation.
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Format: DVD
Carlos is a towering achievement, a fascinating study of a man who was a reflection of the times in which he lived in and is embodied by Edgar Ramirez's powerful performance spanning several decades.

The first disc includes a theatrical trailer.

The second disc starts off with "Shooting the OPEC Sequence," a 22-minute featurette examining how Olivier Assayas shot Carlos and his team's raid on the OPEC headquarters on December 21, 1975. The director offers his thoughts on what he hoped to achieve with the film over the footage of the cast and crew working on location. This extra provides some insight into his working methods.

There is an interview with Denis Lenoir, one of the film's two cinematographers. He shot the second half of Carlos and talks about his approach towards the job. He didn't prepare much for the film because he came in halfway through and goes into some of the technical aspects (i.e. film stock, lighting, etc.). Lenoir also talks about how Assayas works.

Lenoir also provides a selected-scene commentary, going into detail about the technical aspects of six scenes from the film. For example, he mentions the kinds of lenses he used, the lighting scheme and whether he used hand-held cameras or not.

The third disc features a 43-minute interview with director Olivier Assayas. He gives his take on Carlos and the times that shaped the man. The filmmaker talks about his intentions for the film. He admits that it did not originate with him because he would've considered to complicated a task to undertake and was actually approached to direct. Assayas talks about growing up during Carlos' heyday and also about making the film itself.

There is also a 20-minute interview with actor Edgar Ramirez.
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