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Che: Part One & Part Two

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Benicio Del Toro, Catalina Sandino, "Che"
IFC

Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Demián Bichir, Santiago Cabrera, Catalina Sandino Moreno and Rodrigo Santoro.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Screenplay: Peter Buchman
Rated: R
Grade: A

It is never an easy feat to tell the story of an iconic figure, especially one such as Ernesto “Che” Guevara, and while some will inevitably be disappointed, Steven Soderbergh has come pretty close to perfection.

His new two-part film, Che, follows the life of the Argentinean doctor turned guerrilla fighter, from the mid-1950s when he first meets Fidel Castro (a superb Demián Bichir) in México, all the way to his eventual death in 1967, after years as a key figure in both the Cuban and Bolivian freedom movements.

The film is shot documentary-style which provides extra grit and texture to the beautifully choreographed fight scenes, and Mr. Soderbergh’s seamless flow between Guevara the doctor and philosopher to Guevara the military strategist imparts a deeper understanding as to what drove this man to be one of the most important political figures of the twentieth century. Benicio Del Toro raw yet nuanced performance shows a more physically vulnerable side (Guevara suffered from severe asthma throughout his life) to the iconic man behind the beret. The film also benefits from a long list of talented supporting actors, including turns by Lou Diamond Phillips, Franka Potente and Matt Damon.

So don’t let the thought of spending four and a half hours watching a historical epic disillusion you.

Che will be released this Friday in New York and Los Angeles and includes an intermission between parts.