Carlos - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Carlos Reviews

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½ September 11, 2013
OK, I'm obsessed with films about leftist European terrorist organizations from the 70's. Loving this series right now
½ August 18, 2013
A 330 minute epic about a terrorist I've never heard of (due to my age I guess) and I watch it anyways... Why? Because every critic seems to love it.

And I love it too.
The Art Direction and the costumes are fantastic and Assayas' direction is masterful (except for some abrupt cuts but these were the only flaws I could notice).

Although most of the background and protagonists were unknown to me I liked the political and historical information that was provided through the film. Carlos himself was well-played by a versatile Edgar Ramirez and Assayas and Franck accomplished a truly remarkable feat - they neither heroized nor demonized him.

A cinematic masterpiece - made for TV!

PS: political extremists are, as you can tell quite out of it but especially for the lefties among them I notice a even stranger and quite naive world view and I'm not sure whether they actually know what they want to accomplish (maybe that's why they never succeeded...)
August 13, 2013
Moderately interesting miniseries on the life of the terrorist Carlos. Not particularly engaging, I guess due to him being a particularly loathsome character. Also seems filled with small, insignificant details, while missing some important ones.

Good performance by Edgar Ramirez as Carlos.
June 26, 2013
Fact and fiction definitely met along the way, but this brilliantly acted mini series keeps you glued to the tv set due to it's realism and attention to detail. Venezuelan actor Edgar Ramirez acting is so unbelievable, you sometimes do believe he is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez. I had to pause it so many times to fact check little details along the way, and to my surprise, this was very accurate.
½ June 2, 2013
Any movie about Carlos is automatically exciting but when its made so well its extremely enjoyable. Gives a superb insight into the life of the famous man. Try watching the full version if possible which is superb, the shorter version isn't too bad either. Superb acting and direction.
March 11, 2013
Calling this a "biopic" is almost an insult. I would consider it more a fascinating character study more than anything. I also would personally rank this as one of the best films about terrorists and terrorism alongside "Battle of Algiers". Edgar Ramirez gives a mighty impressive performance as Carlos The Jackal (Funny, the over-5-hour miniseries never once called him that). His arc throughout the (fictionalized) film resembles more of a down-and-out celebrity than as this legendary larger-than-life revolutionary/evil terrorist (depending on who you ask). It's a miniseries, technically but you'll most likely find yourself wanting to watch it in one sitting. It's really that compelling. Probably my favorite film of 2010.
March 7, 2013
Fascinating 5 1/2 hour movie about the rise and fall of a revolutionary/terrorist/mercenary.
Super Reviewer
½ January 31, 2013
I'm rating the complete miniseries. After viewing it,I have no desire to watch the condensed version. At five and a half hours, Olivier Assayas' "Carlos" doesn't steal a minute of it's audience's time. It's a stunning (reportedly fictionalized) portrait of the infamous terrorist Carlos the Jackyl, a man who's revolutionary ambitions are only matched by his lust for women and ego.

Carlos is played by Edgar Ramirez (Domino, Zero Dark Thrity) who gives one of cinema's (and television's) finest recent performances. He deftly portrays a charming monster, a man who exploits the tribulations of others and foreign political strife to quench his own thirst for power. We never really like Carlos, but the film does a great job of making us understand him... rendering his journey through a world of violence, greed,and betrayal an utterly absorbing one.

Assayas makes a film far removed from the warmth and grace of his 2009 "Summer Hours," but his exquisite characterization remains. He masterfully handles forcefully scenes of gritty action and violence as well as the potentially overwhelming flow of historical fact and figures. The single greatest strength of Carlos is how accessible if feels. A lot of information assaults the audience yet it all feels manageable and fluid. The scope is daunting but Assayas keeps it grounded enough to grasp.

"Carlos" is a standout character study; a true modern epic that needs to be seen in any form. Undoubtedly though the miniseries is the way to go. Assayas' assured direction and the incendiary performance of Ramirez can't be ignored. It's brilliant.
January 30, 2013
I'm gonna have to see this
January 29, 2013
Bit of a marathon at 5 hours plus but well worth it.
½ January 23, 2013
This fantastic biopic chronicles the life of the infamous terrorist Carlos the Jackal from 1973 through 1994, portraying him as alternately idealistic, charming, brutal, and banal.
½ January 7, 2013
Some grippingly cinematic big sequences, and some intense dramatic performances, the 5 1/2 hour running time somehow seems modest. The film is without a lull, undoubtedly due to Olivier Assayas's enthusiasm for the craft and Ramirez's dedicated performance. I think something goes wrong in Part 3, and the narrative doesn't feel cohesive. Perhaps this is intentional, because Carlos's identity and relevance to society really just fizzles out. This is what I felt happened with the story itself. Perhaps it will grow on me, but there's enough brilliance in this that demands it to be viewed.
December 20, 2012
A very engaging look into the live of a controversial person. Engaging throughout, with few missteps or bungles, and with the sheer scope of the work, the faults are easily forgotten. I would love to know the full story "Carlos the Jackal" and what the effects of his actions are on the world (I am ignorant and did not know of his existence beforehand). I say that stands in testament to the art of the film as it never dumbs down the man's action or tries to excuse his behavior. Instead it shows us a picture of what his charm might have looked like when he was in his prime and that's where the power of this film is.

My one complaint is that it doesn't go into his life before becoming a terrorist or his childhood, which seems like ripe subjects that such a far reaching film such as this would touch on. But, that's a small complaint.
½ November 17, 2012
Edgar is great, is a really good mini serie
½ October 20, 2012
For the most part this is a dramatisation of the unknown specifics in Carlos the Jackal's criminal life, but it is simply a superb one.
½ October 18, 2012
Money money money money. Everything is money even terrorism lol
Super Reviewer
½ September 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.
Super Reviewer
½ September 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.
Super Reviewer
August 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.
½ August 9, 2012
In the third world, the Cold War was a game of vendors bidding for contracts, not a battle of ideologies.
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