Carlos

2010, Drama/Biography, 2h 30m

70 Reviews 5,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Despite its hefty running time, Carlos moves along briskly, thanks to an engaging story, exotic locales, and a breakout performance by Edgar Ramirez. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Young Venezuelan Marxist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez (Edgar Ramírez) is recruited by the leader of a Palestinian terrorist organization (Ahmad Kaabour) to perform several jobs in Europe in the early 1970s, culminating in the audacious kidnapping of several OPEC oil ministers. From that small-scale beginning, he becomes an infamous international terrorist for hire, known in the media as Carlos the Jackal, who performs violent acts across the globe for a wide variety of nations and organizations.

Cast & Crew

Edgar Ramírez
Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, aka Carlos
Alexander Scheer
Johannes Weinrich
Nora Waldstätten
Magdalena Kopp
Christoph Bach
Hans-Joachim Klein (Angie)
Ahmad Kaabour
Wadie Haddad
Fadi Abi Samra
Michel Moukharbal
Rodney El-Haddad
Anis Naccache
Julia Hummer
Gabriele Kröcher-Tiedemann
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News & Interviews for Carlos

Critic Reviews for Carlos

Audience Reviews for Carlos

  • Sep 16, 2021
    At the beginning Carlos is beloved and practically worshipping his own body but by the end he's a bloated loser abandoned by his fellow revolutionaries and his family. Basically its about both the intoxicating power and, ultimately, the dead end of believing your own hype. It goes without saying but if you can see the miniseries version that would be the best.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 26, 2012
    Good heavens are my eyes exhausted. I have been working up the courage to face this behemoth six-hour movie for sometime and while I am thankful I actually took on the beast, my skull feels like it has just been squeezed in a vice. At its best, it is a meticulous look at career terrorism. The highs and the lows, the bombs and the blows, and every blue print in between. It is a fascinating look at the life of an extreme ideologue as he ditches every tail and cleans up the messes made by his partners. Every new hurdle slowly eats away at his overall goal of a global revolution, draining his energy and the audience's as well. Yet, while his moxie may be gradually diminishing, he never once appears to want to call it a day. Carlos is uncommonly obdurate and clings stubbornly to the belief that the world needs him. When in reality - in an observation made by a fellow Syrian terrorist - it is evident that Carlos needs these terrorist acts in order to give his life meaning. So even though many of his plans crumble, he quickly leap frogs to the next project. Knowing deep down that were he to stop, he would just be a senseless murderer. Not that he was without backing. In fact, he was courted by many regimes, but clearly his ego was writing checks that he could not feasibly cash. In meticulous and often exhaustive detail, Carlos and his gang are shown planning an attack on an OPEC conference and executing, pardon the pun, an attempted assassination plot on Anwar Sadat. Although six hours of these scenes can be laborious to sit through, its extensive length actually works in the favor of the narrative. After watching Carlos' extensive exploits for many hours, it helps the audience better understand his future actions. Primarily, it helps illuminate why Carlos begins to grow restless. The OPEC conference aside, Carlos must deal with botched job after botched job. He becomes more desperate with every passing year and his inability to start a global revolution breeds discontentment. Subsequently, his actions becomes more brazen. His idealism begins to give way to egoism and becomes a hazy concoction of ideology driven hubris. Edgar Ramirez is superb as the amoral man of conviction. There is a quiet intensity to him that makes it very difficult to take your eyes off of. It could have been so easy to play Carlos as an over the top megalomaniacal criminal mastermind, but he abstains from doing so. Thankfully Ramirez forgoes the headlines and gives us the fine print. I hope this role opens up more doors for this talented actor. Carlos is quite a journey and not one that I will probably take again this decade. However, it is a unique and well-acted film about what it truly means to live and die for a cause. No matter how futile it can seem at times.
    Reid V Super Reviewer
  • Sep 18, 2012
    Excellent film, brilliant on many levels. It's long, and yet it kept my attention. The main character, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, or Carlos the Jackal, is not stupid or insane. He's extremely intelligent, fluent in a number of languages, educated, etc. That's what is fascinating about him. He's very logical, and his logic makes sense given his presuppositions (hard core Marxist). In some ways, he's a real life James Bond. We don't often think about what a 'license to kill' would actually mean. This movie makes you think about it. Carlos doesn't see anything he does as wrong or even questionable. He has a clearly defined goal and intends to accomplish it by any means necessary. It is just and necessary that he is now in prison, and I hope he never gets out. A stunning portrait of the most dangerous kind of human being.
    Morris N Super Reviewer
  • Aug 22, 2012
    Ilich Ramirez Sanchez(Edgar Ramirez), self-professed revolutionary Marxist, is looking for his very own revolution that does not involve dying in a hellhole in South America and chooses the liberation of Palestine in 1973. Since Israel is busy killing everybody involved with the Munich terrorist attack, Wadie Haddad(Ahmad Kaabour) of the FPLP has openings as Sanchez chooses the nom du guerre Carlos. However, things do not always go smoothly as a courier is arrested at the airport with fake passports and bad poetry. So, the Japanese Red Army goes into action by taking the French ambassador hostage to ensure his release but negotiations break down on the subject of a chemical toilet. "Carlos" is an epic speculation and portrait of a terrorist as a preening narcissist that spans countries, and languages, both too numberous to recount. Surprisingly for his inconsistent track record, Olivier Assayas holds it all together in a movie that is compelling throughout, despite its sequential structure. As one character calling him a mercenary might not be exactly fair, as Carlos has some idealism, it is true that he might be in it also for the women and guns. While initially talking about victory, it turns out his legacy will involve nothing more than a long string of bodies. He is only one of any amount of militants who are so enamored of their causes that they have their heads so far up their collective asses that they miss the little details(of which the movie is rather fond of) that lead to ruin or how the world is really run. In a way the movie makes a case for the existence of state sponsored terrorism in that certain countries have a symbiotic relationship with the terrorists living within their borders. And since they are usually police states, they have a pretty good idea of what everybody is up to. At the same time, some people will not be thrilled to learn Yasser Arafat was not the root of all evil.
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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