December 17, 2008

LIES, LIES, AND LOTS OF VIDEOTAPE:

'CHE' IT AIN'T SO (Kyle Smith, 12/12/08, NY Post)

MEET Che Guevara. Just think of him as Jesus plus Abraham Lincoln with a touch of Moses and Dr. Doug Ross. After 4½ hours of watching Dr. Ernesto "Che" Guevara heal the sick, teach the illiterate, daze the women, execute the lawless, defeat the corrupt, uplift the peasantry and spew the sound bite, I was convinced there would be a scene in which he turned water to Bacardi.

You can't spell cliché without "Che." And as I endured this mad dream directed - or perhaps committed - by Steven Soderbergh, I wondered where I'd seen it all before. The booted stomping through the greensward, the jungly target shooting? It's a remake of Woody Allen's "Bananas," right? Minus punch lines - or perhaps with them. "We are in a difficult situation," Che observes, at a point when his army is surrounded and forced to eat its horses.

The story of the Argentine doctor Ernesto "Che" Guevara is played with much broody self-importance by Benicio Del Toro. It will be shown in two parts after its one-week opening run. That way, on consecutive evenings, it can bore everyone but activist grad students. [...]

This isn't a movie so much as a siege. When the screen flashed "Day 302," I thought it was updating me on how long I had spent in the theater without food, water or access to the Red Cross.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 17, 2008 12:35 PM
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