Che Guevera has always been more of an ideal than an actual person. He's been the romanticized poster boy for many a wannabe revolutionary, and his face on T-shirts has become the universal symbol for proletarian, raging-against-the-machine rebellion. His mythos is way larger and more important than his biography, because his biographyas hammered home in Steven Soderbergh's two-part, four-plus-hour filmis disappointingly mundane. If Soderbergh's goal in making this movie was to demystify Che Guevera and de-romanticize "revolution," he's succeeded winningly. But unfortunately the result is a film that is just not very compelling.
For a film of such length and epic proportions, Che is actually very specific and limited in its narrative scope. Part 1 (The Argentine) follows Che in Cuba, as he partners with a young Fidel Castro to mount an agrarian revolution by gradually winning the hearts and minds of everyday Cubans who are dissatisfied with their government. Interspersed in this narrativeto interesting effectare some black-and-white scenes of Che in Manhattan during his 1964 trip to speak to the U.N. General Assembly. By the end of Part 1, he and the rebels have successfully overthrown Batista's current regime in Cuba, though we are not granted the luxury of actually seeing the march into Havana. Just as we are finally getting a bit of pay-off for meticulously observing the banal everydayness of revolution for the two-plus hours that comprise Part 1, Part 2 (The Guerilla) takes us out of Cuba and to Bolivia, where Che (after a failed attempt in Congo) tries to duplicate his Cuban revolutionary success in another Latin American nation. Unfortunately the revolutionary fervor among the lower classes and ...1