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Laramie Movie Scope:
Che (Parts One and Two)

A very long movie about a few months in the life of Che Guevera

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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January 31, 2009 -- “Overlong” is a word that comes to mind often while watching this epic tale of a relatively short part of the life of noted revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara. Part two, clocking in at over two hours, covers only the last year of his life. I watched parts one and two at single sitting. I would not advise others to follow my example. That is nearly four and a half hours of idealistic guerillas hacking their way through jungles, battling evil government forces and lecturing peons about the glories of socialism, mostly in Spanish. Most likely, if you see this film at all, parts one and two will be shown as separate films. That's a mercy.

If you are one of those people who thinks Che Guevara was a murderer and a despot, you won't find that side of him in this film. The only reference to that side of Guevara that I found was a scene when Guevara is captured by Bolivian Army troups and one of his captors, also from Cuba, speaks to him. “You executed my uncle,” the soldier says to Guevara. I thought, huh? I missed that part. All I saw was the Che Guevara who lovingly tended to the medical needs of peasants and troops alike, who respects private property and who prevented his soldiers from mistreating peasants or even prisoners of war. The conflict is shot in a fairly matter-of-fact way. The tedium of endless marching, endless chopping underbrush, endless training of of soldiers, bandaging wounds, shooting and killing. It is all done in a tone more suited to a documentary on the proper method of flossing teeth. It is not glorified and it doesn't seem like an adventure, either. It is a fairly plain telling of what it takes to stage a revolution.

Where is the guy who executes people? You don't fight a revolutionary war, or a war of any kind, for that matter, and keep your hands clean. Your hands get bloody. Innocent people get caught in the crossfire and they die. Soldiers get killed by “friendly fire.” People are tortured and executed. Women are raped. People are murdered. Soldiers loot. Most of the ugly side of war can't be found in this movie. It will have to be left to another movie. It sure wasn't in The Motorcycle Diaries either. If you are big fan of Che, you will want to see “The Motorcycle Diaries,” along with parts one and two of Che. Part one covers Che's pivotal role in the Cuban revolution. Part two covers the last year of his life as he tries to start a similar revolution in Bolivia. Che offers a long look at a man who gave up comfort and power in Cuba for a lot of suffering in the wilds of Bolivia. There seems little doubt that Che was an idealist, and that idealists can be extremely dangerous people. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2009 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)