A conservative judge is appointed by the President to spearhead America's escalating war against drugs, only to discover that his teenage daughter is a crack addict. Two DEA agents protect an informant. A jailed drug baron's wife attempts to carry on the family business.
Benicio Del Toro,
The Argentine, begins as Che and a band of Cuban exiles (led by Fidel Castro) reach the Cuban shore from Mexico in 1956. Within two years, they mobilized popular support and an army and toppled the U.S.-friendly regime of dictator Fulgencio Batista. Written by
Oru de Igbodú Para Yemayá: Agayú
Performed by Conjunto de Tambores Batá de Amado Diaz Alfonso
From the recording entitled "Sacred Rhythms of Cuban Santeria, S F40419"
Provided courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
(c) 1995. Used by Permission See more »
In the first of the two Che films (this London Film Festival screening I attended showed both The Argentine and Guerrilla back to back with an intermission) we get all we might expect from a Soderbergh film. Detail without obsessiveness; straightforward storytelling without diluting or oversimplification. The period covered is the Cuban revolution from inception to completion, with flashbacks of Guevara addressing the UN in 1964. Though a large - and largely well-acted - ensemble film, Del Toro dominates the screen. His presence, utterly submerged in his character, gives the impression of a patient, caring Guevara, steely, rather than fiery and almost never ill-tempered. I don't know if we are given a balanced portrait of Guevara but this performance will win Del Toro a best performing actor Oscar. The bookies might as well pay out now.
On top of the Soderbergh's own lush photography I was also stirred by Alberto Iglesias' insistent, original but unobtrusive score. By far the better of the two Che biopics. 8/10
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