The Lost City Reviews
Besides the democratic approach of Fico's father, his sons opt for a more revolutionary approach, with Ricardo joining forces with Fidel Castro and becoming an important officer within the new Communist government. While the movie presented an interesting character arc for all of Fico's children and was entertaining, some of its depictions of the reality of Communism were less effective than others.
The revolutions themselves were historically just to what Communist revolutions look like, namely, in necessitating large amounts of violence and bloodshed and the necessity of being led by a leader that is not afraid of being brutal and violent. This was explained nicely in a scene with Che when he gives a short speech to Ricardo, who seems to feel some remorse for the people they just killed, and Che tells him that there is nothing to be upset over. The revolution requires violence for a free Cuba, and that "the end justifies the means." For Communists like Che, violence is not done for the sake of violence, but out of necessity to lead a successful revolution.
Where I felt the movie failed in its portrayal of Communism lay with the characters presented to us. In most Communist revolutions, and in its purest form as Marx imagined it, the Communist Revolutions would represent the overthrowing of the bourgeoisies, or the upper class of rich people. This revolution to overthrow them would be led by peasants and the working class who were being exploited by the upper class, particularly in industrialized countries. Marx, in fact, felt that such a revolution could not occur in countries like Russia and Cuba because of their lack of industry. In this movie, the Cubans whose eyes we see the revolution through are fairly well off nightclub owners. They may not be part of the upper echelon of Cuban society, but they are far from the peasants that Marx imagined the revolution to be led by. In fact, peasants are largely absent from the movie, with the exception of Ricardo who seems to take on the façade of a peasant or lower class Cuban when he joins forces with Che and Castro.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie and felt it told a compelling story of how this period in Cuban history affected individuals and families, even forcing some to flee as Fico was, but that it would have been more effective to see the revolution through the eyes of Cuba's most oppressed. We get short glimpses of it when we are presented with scenes like Luis's failed assault on the Presidential Palace, but none make a strong impression of the roots of the communist revolution in Cuba.