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Pinochet's Last Stand

3.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Pinochet's Last Stand (DVD)

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Derek Jacobi, Phyllida Law, Peter Capaldi, Anna Massey, Michael Maloney
  • Directors: Richard Curson Smith
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: Unknown
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: February 23, 2010
  • Run Time: 77 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ZU98GW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,217 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Generally, I shy away from docudramas. If nothing else, they're a little too easily challengable. But when a friend reminded me that 9/11 is not only THE 9/11 but also the date of the Chilean coup in which Augusto Pinchet took over, I felt it about time that I see this fine film.

At the beginning, as is often the case with a docudrama, the film reminds you that it's based on fact, but some characters may be made up. Okay, I'll buy that.

Then the screen shows some of the atrocities of which Pinochet was accused: 3,000 dead and 30,000 tortured. The script added in a few places that about 1,200 disappeared too. (The activist with the most prominent role in the cast, Nicole Prouilly, had a sister who was among the 1,200).

Then, onto the story: General Pinochet is visiting UK for back surgery. Activists from UK's Amnesty International office, having tried unsuccessfully to have Pinochet arrested in the past, try again. They appeal to Home Secretary Jack Straw who then arrests Pinochet who's still recovering from the surgery.

Pinochet, played masterfully by Derek Jacobi, shows the hubris one would expect from a dictator. He's arrogant, can't believe that he's under arrest, even though he's sent to a rather elegant house used often by English show biz personalities. He gets put in his place by a young policewoman.

When Madame Pinochet leaves, Augusto says one of the most intriguing lines of the script: "So much time alone with my wife; the one masterstroke of my enemies."

In the meantime, the Pinochets hire Michael Caplan as their defense attorney. He attempts to convince the courts--and the Pinochets--that they are "victims of politics.
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This is a historical recounting of Augusto Pinochet's last trip abroad (to Great Britain), where he was placed under house arrest for a year and a half while being considered for extradition to Spain to stand trial for war crimes.

Expatriate Chileans are just itching for the man code-named "the gentleman" to arrive in the United Kingdom so they can have him detained by the court. When he does, they get their wish.

One thing that stands in the way of turning him over is that Britain did not adopt laws against torture on foreign soil until 1988. Any torture committed before then cannot be considered.

While the British Chileans explore every judical loophole to have Pinochet account for his crimes, the former dictator's lawyers mount a professional defense, and pressure on the home secretary to release him is intense. That includes pressure from the United States, Tony Blair, and the Vatican.

Into the mix comes a visit from Lady Thatcher, former prime minister of Great Britain, who gushes over the man as the "Savior of Chile." (This was the one surprise to me in the whole film, that Margaret Thatcher would have even considered the company of a mass murderer).

The Chileans too keep up the pressure, but in the end he is able to play the fool and be judged medically and psychologically incapable of standing trial. Pinochet returns to Chile, where he discards his walker after deplaning, and continues unattended.

The short drama lacks the same despite the superb acting of Derek Jacobi who plays in the title role, with a supporting cast that is top-drawer. It is the acting that carries a sparse storyline, and nudges it to the three star mark. The bottom line is the question, would I want to sit down and watch this again?

The answer is unfortunately, no.
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I'm giving this book 3 stars because even though the movie does make fair historical points, Pinochet is portrayed as a fairly refined man which is completely out of character. As a Chilean that is very familiar with the culture, he was a man that lacked manners, he was quite uncultured and unrefined. To be fair with this production, he was quite arrogant and felt untouchable as depicted here, but his manners were rather vulgar, not elegant as presented here. He lacked the critical thinking of an intellectual, and his speeches were very simple minded and contradictory. It is very typical in Chile to make fun of him for the rather unpolished way he speaks and his uncultured ways. The production of this work, didn't seem to grasp the real Pinochet, maybe due to a lack of understanding Chilean culture. Without trying to fall into stereotyping, this production presents a rather European version of Pinochet.
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Rather stilted in delivery. Just seemed acted instead of "suspension of disbelief" where one is a part of the scene. Jacobi is always believable, perhaps it is staging, camera, or view. Got the impression of a HS play.
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