x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Che Part 2

Director Soderbergh attempts to emulate the style of Terence Malick but it proves an uncomfortable undertaking.

This second part of Soderberg's Che Guevara biopic is based on the story that Terrence Malick was working on when he was slated to direct. Based loosely on Guevara's Bolivian Diary, this is the story of how after he became disillusioned with life as a government minister in Cuba, he returned to guerrilla life and ultimately met an early grave in Bolivia. The optimism of the first film is replaced by fatalism. Soderbergh captures this sombre mood by abandoning the free-flowing style of part one, in a homage to Malick and, as such, focuses this picture on more mundane aspects of life, as he investigates the Days of Heaven director's favourite theme - the struggle of man against himself and nature. Unfortunately, Soderbergh doesn't seem comfortable with this more forensic style. The film's opening, in which Guevara enters Bolivia dressed as a Uruguayan businessman, is classic espionage material and the most exciting sequence of either movie. Then Soderbergh begins to show life in Bolivia, with flashing numbers telling us how many days since Guevara arrived. The CIA pursuit of Guevara and the preparation for battle seem prosaic. At times it is beguiling, but Soderbergh is no Malick, and trying to copy him is a bad move.