Che: Part One (The Argentine) (2009) - Rotten Tomatoes

Che: Part One (The Argentine) (2009)



Critic Consensus: Though lengthy and at times plodding, Soderbergh's vision and Benicio Del Toro's understated performance ensure that Che always fascinates.

Che: Part One (The Argentine) Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Nearly 40 years after Che Guevara's execution in Bolivia, director Steven Soderbergh retraces the life of the iconic Cuban revolutionary in this nearly four-and-a-half-hour saga. Part 1 begins on November 26, 1956, as Fidel Castro (Demián Bichir) sails into Cuban waters with 80 rebels in tow. Among those rebels is Argentine doctor Ernesto "Che" Guevara (Benicio Del Toro), a man who shares Castro's dream of overthrowing corrupt dictator Fulgencio Batista. As the struggle gets under way, Guevara proves an indispensable part of the revolution due to his firm grasp on the concepts of guerilla warfare. Guevara is heartily embraced by both his comrades and the Cuban people, and quickly rises through the ranks to become first a commander, and ultimately a revolutionary hero. Part 2 of the saga begins with Guevara at the absolute peak of his fame and power. Disappearing suddenly, Guevara subsequently resurfaces in Bolivia to organize a modest group of Cuban comrades and Bolivian recruits in preparation for the Latin American Revolution. But while the Bolivian campaign would ultimately fail, the tenacity, sacrifice, and idealism displayed by Guevara during this period would make him a symbol of heroism to followers around the world. Part 1 and Part 2 were screened together as Che at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, and also received a limited theatrical release under that same title in U.S. theaters later that same year.more
Rating: R (for some violence)
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Peter Buchman, Benjamin A. van der Veen, Benicio Del Toro, Steven Soderbergh, Benjamin A. VanDerVeen
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 14, 2009
Box Office: $1.5M
IFC Films


Benicio Del Toro
as Ernesto Che Guevara
Rodrigo Santoro
as Raul Castro
Joaquim de Almeida
as President René Barri...
Santiago Cabrera
as Camillo Cienfuegos
Edgar Ramirez
as Ciro Redondo
Victor Rasuk
as Rogelio Acevedo
Unax Ugalde
as Little Cowboy
Yul Vázquez
as Alejandro Ramirez
Carlos Bardem
as Moises Guevara
Eduard Fernández
as Ciro Algaranaz
Demian Bichir
as Fidel Castro
Marc-Andre Grondin
as Regis Debray
Jordi Molla
as Capt. Vargas
Julia Ormond
as Lisa Howard
Gastón Pauls
as Ciros Bustos
Elvira Mínguez
as Celia Sanchez
Oscar Isaac
as Interpreter
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Che: Part One (The Argentine)

Critic Reviews for Che: Part One (The Argentine)

All Critics (135) | Top Critics (32)

Soderbergh has made two almost perfect war films, more like the Rings Trilogy than The Green Berets.

Full Review… | October 1, 2009
MovieTime, ABC Radio National
Top Critic

There is precious little in these movies to fill out our understanding of what it was that made Che a rebel, a leader of men, and the repository of the romantic dreams of several generations of armchair revolutionaries

Full Review… | March 6, 2009
Top Critic

The myth somehow deserves better.

Full Review… | August 16, 2011
East Bay Express

The quality of the film is more than a testament to Mr Del Toro's acting skills, it is a reminder that Hollywood can make great films without 'selling out'.

Full Review… | March 24, 2011
What Culture

The director sees Guevara as a pure humanitarian. ... The films are excellent, but understanding this complex historical figure requires more than one source.

Full Review… | January 26, 2011

Soderbergh has no interest in sentimentality, or back story, or even really in Guevara's philosophy, except as a rigorously footnoted onscreen reflection. Practically rejecting outright the concept of poetic license, Che is radical as a biopic.

Full Review… | June 13, 2010

Audience Reviews for Che: Part One (The Argentine)

Soderbergh's political biography about Che Guevara and his involvement in the Cuban Revolution is expertly directed and even feels like a documentary, but is also frustrating as it shows him as a nearly flawless hero and avoids any of the controversies surrounding his character.

Carlos Magalhăes

Super Reviewer

A sprawling, epic look at the life of Che Guevara through the lense of Steven Soderbergh. Del Toro is brilliant in the lead.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer


I should have hated this film. I feel like the legend of Che has become so distorted & romanticized, that whatever your cause, you can invoke the name of Che to further it. On top of this, every college student with access to a Hot Topic has donned a shirt with the figure's face on it, without the benefit of knowing the context of the original movement. The last thing I needed was further ambiguity.
However, Soderbergh's film seems to revel in this ambiguity. Che was a zealous ideologue, ardent supporter of justice (no matter how perverse his idea of justice became), and a romantic. I feel as though Soderbergh captures this very well and made really the only film you could make about such an enigmatic figure. One devoid of understanding.
Were Soderbergh to take a stance and really dive into what drove Che, he would be making a judgement. Whether he would decide that Che's pursuits were righteous, or a parade a violence driven by delusion, Soderbergh would have to judge his character. And how do you do that when he means so many things to so many different types of people?
I think by abandoning the conventional narrative, and showing vignettes of his life rather than presenting it chronologically, Soderbergh continues to let the audience decide.
Sure, I understand the criticism that by not showing Che commit the violent acts himself in a way absolves him of the crimes & creates in essence, a fairly tale. Yet, I think Che's pursuits were of a very macabre fairy tale.
Will I be watching this film every weekend? No way. Do I think Soderbergh could have tightened up the film overall and cut some of the fat? Absolutely. None the less, I think Soderbergh made the only film that could be made about this infamous revolutionary. It's terrifically filmed, impeccably acted, & I think Soderbergh deserves a lot of credit for bringing this controversial life to the big screen.

Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

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