Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, aka 'Carlos,' is a Venezuelan-born Marxist revolutionary who aligns himself with the Palestinian cause and becomes the world's most notorious terrorist. He leads assaults on the meeting of OPEC ministers, taking them hostage and flying them from country to country seeking asylum, one of the most daring acts of terrorism in history. From his earliest days as an apprentice in the revolutionary movement to his subsequent downfall, Carlos becomes a figure of legend. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
A Problematic Work Despite the Raves from the Press
CARLOS is a five hour miniseries that has garnered some of the longest articles of praise from the newspapers across the country. Technically speaking that is understandable: the shots of the various countries discussed and the quality of acting from a very broad spectrum of actors across the world is impressive. But the story (or documentary as this is a recreation of many years of revolutionary movements that culminated in a world famous raiding encounter at the OPEC oil ministers conference in Vienna in 1975) wares thin very quickly. Yes, it is somewhat enlightening to follow the development and actions of Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, the Venezuelan revolutionary better known as 'Carlos', who founded a worldwide terrorist organization, finding his goals through hijacking of planes, capturing hostages, arranging talks with some of the major countries in the world. But there is such a sameness to the action that after about 2 hours of the series it is difficult to wait for the central climactic drama. Writers Dan Franck and Olivier Assayas (remembered for 'Paris, je t'aime' and 'Irma Vep' who also directs) may have taken some liberties with facts but they do deliver enough information about the birth and breeding of terrorist groups to give us all a wake-up call.
Édgar Ramírez, a young Venezuelan actor fluent in many languages, is the main reason for watching this epic suspense thriller. He is a major presence and makes 'Carlos' seem like a righteous humanitarian revolutionary - a problem when the details of the real character Carlos are examined. He is able assisted by a strong cast - a few of the main additional characters are played by Alexander Scheer, Alejandro Arroyo, Ahmad Kaabour, Talal El-Jordi and Juana Acosta in addition to many many others. But sitting through he series, especially during the long hours of lack of activity aboard a hijacked airplane with hostages for example, begins to bog down the story. Once the idea of the story is hatched it simply becomes a long song spanning many countries and diminishes in interest. The series is due to open in theaters this week: it will be interesting to see if they play the entire 5 hours in one sitting!
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