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Isaach De Bankolé
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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When the terrorists take the tram in Vienna to get to the OPEC conference, the tram can be seen in three scenes, and every time it is a different tram line: The first tram's final destination is "Nussdorf", the second tram is line "D" and the third is a tram on "Extra Tour". See more »
Rich, heady, exciting, brilliantly acted political character study
Fascinating 5 hour plus, 3 part film about Carlos the Jackal (although he never actually called himself that) the headline grabbing terrorist of the 70s and 80s.
With little exposition, we're dropped into a whirlwind of violence, self-aggrandizement, sexual seduction, and power games, moving at an almost dizzying speed. The film allows us to slowly figure out Carlos, instead of explain him in a simple facile way.
While never sympathetic, somehow the amazing Edgar Rameriez allows us to feel for this id and ego driven creature, powered far more by the need for attention and adulation (whether from women or the press) than by true belief. Indeed, one of the most interesting things about the film is how (intentionally) shallow and hollow Carlos's political monologues ring.
The last 1/3 is the slowest and hardest to sit through. Carlos's slow decline into ineffectiveness and unimportance is sometimes patience trying. But Rob Nelson, in his excellent Village Voice review makes a strong argument that this is a) unavoidable after the high paced rush of the first two parts and 2) part of the point of the film; without his fixes of women and power there wasn't much to Carlos, and without them both he and we want it to be over.
This is a film I'd like to see again. While I don't quite agree (yet) with the many critics who have hailed this as of the best films of last 10 years, I do think it's a challenging, brilliantly acted, wonderfully made film, that gives context both to modern terrorism and recent world history. Add to that, an exploration of the blurring fine line between power and uncontrolled narcissism that seems to dog leaders (especially male) of all political stripes from Hitler to Bill Clinton to George Bush to Carlos.
That's a lot to cover, even in 5 hours.
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