Thursday 24 Jul

TJ Mayes - "When Love Comes Down"

’50s era rock ’n’ roll had been long overdue for a rebirth. Thankfully, the stockpile of capable luminaries has not been in short supply over the past few years. 

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Boare - "playdatshit"

The world is in the midst of an electronic music renaissance, and you find most of this boon of producers laying claim to the club-friendly, bass-dropping variety, holing up in the the free-flowing world of hip-hop beatmaking or pitching their tent on the out-there, boundary-pushing EDM camp.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broncho - "Class Historian"

Broncho has never been hurting in the hook department. The success of the trio’s 2011 debut, Can’t Get Past the Lips, was predicated mostly on its ability to marry melodies with kinetic guitar riffs and anarchic energy. Yet we’ve heard nothing to the degree of pure pop catchiness on display in “Class Historian,” the new single from Broncho’s upcoming sophomore album, Just Enough Hip to Be Woman.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Fight led by epic filming, great...

Fight led by epic filming, great acting highlights too-long 'Che'

Joe Wertz May 7th, 2009

One of the basic tenets of armed rebellion holds that guerillas will ultimately prevail when patient and prepared for extended conflict and drawn-out battle. Similarly, Steven Soderbergh's (...


One of the basic tenets of armed rebellion holds that guerillas will ultimately prevail when patient and prepared for extended conflict and drawn-out battle.

Similarly, Steven Soderbergh's ("Ocean's Thirteen") take on revolutionary icon Che Guevara is no quick victory, instead a protracted film entanglement that machetes through the jungle only to celebrate scattered victories.

Collectively clocking in at just less than four hours, "Che" is a biopic split into two parts. For all practical purposes, the two parts are their own films. With quick cuts that stutter back and forth through a series of timelines, the first part, "The Argentine," centers on the Guevara's (Benicio Del Toro, "Things We Lost in the Fire") initial Mexico meeting with Fidel Castro (Demián Bichir, TV's "Weeds"), the pair's later efforts to overthrow Cuban president Batista and Guevara's 1964 trek to New York, where he gave a fiery speech at the United Nations.

The second film-within-a-film, "The Guerilla," leaps forward in time and follows Guevara as he leaves his relatively cushy job in the Cuban Finance Ministry and leads a failed coup in Bolivia.

The mood and pacing of the two parts are entirely different, " epic, to be sure " but never fully effective.

"The Argentine" is the most palpable of the two parts. In it, we are given a back story on Guevara, an asthma-prone physician who serves Castro most effectively as a strong leader who galvanizes other fighters and steadfastly defends the struggle of poor, rural villagers. By the time he was to make his speech at the U.N., he was a celebrity among would-be philosophers. The first half shows the leader during this New York visit, as he makes the rounds at American cocktail parties, where the affluent eagerly clamored for the famed revolutionary.

"The Guerilla" slows significantly, but is far grander in its efforts to explore Guevara's final battle. With almost no dialogue from his more-vocal Castro companion, scenes here rely on Del Toro's considerable understanding of history, scene and character to carry the second half of the film. In Bolivia, Del Toro toils in anguish, but there is little action on which to hang interest, especially as the hours drag on.

Visually, "Che" is unrivaled. Soderbergh shoots long, taking in panoramic sequences of soggy jungle battle and gritty urban fighting. Guevara's impact is always affected by his setting, and, like a character, Soderbergh is sure to frame it prominently in every shot.

Soderbergh shows remarkable restraint throughout "Che," favoring a documentarian approach instead of a dramatic one. And while film might capture the most historically important aspects of the iconic guerilla's arc, many of the most boring moments steal too many scenes. It might be unfair to boil a complex character like Guevara down to his most exciting, engaging moments, but that's what films best help distill.

The acting is top-tier, but the Soderbergh's presentation is tedious thanks to the running time, which dilutes most of "Che"'s effectiveness.

"Che" will screen Friday and Saturday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Part one will be shown at 5:30 p.m., while the second part will follow at 8 p.m. on both days. "Joe Wertz

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5