Che: Part Two (Guerrilla) Reviews
The acting remains phenomenal, but it should if this is being watched as one long film and not two separate and distinct parts. I think I enjoyed part one better, but this one is still pretty good. I expected it to be harder to watch, but not for there to be a change in quality. I did not get to see this as one long unbroken film, but I think I'd give both parts a cvombined rating of 4.5/5, and keep both individual parts as 4/5 each. The extra star half star is a bonus just for the way the project was undertaken and comnmitted to film.
Once again, Benicio Del Toro is brilliant in the title role, truly inhabiting his character and carrying off his scenes with a growing combination of pathos and denial. But one of the film?s first flaws is that Che is in it for much less than he should be, certainly considering the title. While the first film had as its backbone the encounters between Che and Fidel Castro, Castro is not in this segment at all, save for a brief speech at the beginning explaining why Che has left Cuba. While this is historically accurate, insofar as Castro had no direct involvement in Bolivia, this means that there is no-one for Che to bounce off on screen. To find chemistry, the film therefore has to turn to the struggles of the individual soldiers, but these are so devoid of personality or distinctive features that there is no chemistry to be found. One might almost think that the characters had wandered off the set of Schindler?s List, they are that dull.
Soderbergh?s direction remains mediocre in this second part. In one scene in the Bolivian jungle, Che?s guerrillas are marching in single file from one training camp to another. But rather than attempt a close-up of their faces to show their personal hardship, Soderbergh?s camera is focussed on a branch with leaves on it, hanging inscrutably in front of the lens with no explanation offered. He also has a problem deciding upon whose perspective the film is from. For most of it, the film is shot in third-person, i.e. the camera is an observer to Che?s actions. But when Che is executed, the film suddenly becomes first-person, going to Che?s POV as he falls to the ground and slowly breathes his last. It makes no rational sense.
On top of this, the script remains as dull as before, only now we have to put up with various lines which refer to Che?s lingering popularity and destroy the film?s internal credibility. In one scene in the second half, a soldier asks Che to pose for a photograph, saying to him ?I?m sure a lot of people would like a photograph of you?. That is a genuine face-palm moment, since it destroys both the audience?s patience and all of Soderbergh?s serious intentions. It?s almost as though he had struggled for three hours to make a taut, self-contained film without pandering to Che?s supporters, and then threw up his hands, gave up and went down the road to complete flippancy.
Just like its predecessor, Che: Part Two can?t make up its mind as to what its perspective is or intentions are. It?s more boring than the first part, just as predictable, and would have been completely forgettable had it not been for the limited presence of Del Toro. Just like Kill Bill, Part 1 will never make sense until you have seen Part 2, but otherwise this film is little more than frustrating, un-compelling tosh.
There are many reasons to highly recommend the film in its entirely,including its first-rate depiction of guerilla warfare which Soderbergh no doubt appreciates as analogous to low-budget filmmaking(underfunded,overmatched groups of young people trying to achieve impossible dreams). What is especially striking about the massive project is that how the two halves mirror each other,and in the second half we see Che trying to make the magic of his youth happen one more time,as of replaying history,but its worth watching as one of the top ten films of 2008.