The Steven Soderbergh movie CHE (2008) is presented in two parts, the first part called The Argentine is about the Cuban campaign and the role that Che Guevara played in the Fidel Castro led revolution against the corrupt Batista dictatorship. The second part called Guerrilla is about Che’s guerrilla campaign in Bolivia where he was killed.
Based on Ernesto Che Guevara’s diaries and the book “Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life” by Jon Lee Anderson that includes seven years of research, director Steven Soderbergh, who also directed Contagion (2011), Traffic (2000), Erin Brockovich (2000), Solaris (2002), The Good German (2006) and The Limey (1999), uses a style of filming that is well suited to this type of biographical material.
This movie is stunningly photographed in remote locations, using a high performance digital cine camera with the quality of 35mm film mixed up with some black and white footage that gives the film a documentary feel, and in fact, the movie feels more like a diary of Che’s experiences during his time fighting in the mountains of Cuba and Bolivia. The films feel like a docudrama on how to conduct a revolution and guerrilla warfare tactics against a superior government armed force, while helping the peasant country folk, who they depend on to survive.
I, like most people, knew of Che Guevara; had seen his image and knew what he represented but never really knew how and why he became such a powerful icon of rebellion. This film answers some of those questions but what this film also does, is instill a sense of curiosity about the man and his extraordinary drive and passion to make the world a better and more humane place to live in for everyone.
Benicio del Toro, recently from The Wolfman (2010) and 21 Grams (2003), gives a fantastic and very realistic performance for which he won a best actor award at the Cannes film festival. Most of the cast are unknowns to me except Catalina Sandino Moreno form Maria Full of Grace (2004), and Love in the Time of Cholera (2007). I was surprised that Matt Damon and Lou Diamond Philpps also made cameo appearances.