Friday, January 16, 2009

Steven Soderbergh's CHE

As luck would have it, I was fortunate enough to review this film for the Star Tribune. You can read the review here.

The long and the short of it, pun probably intended, is: Che is a great film; it is 4 hours and 20 minutes long; and you should not miss the "Roadshow Edition" of the film playing at the Uptown for one week only. The Roadshow Edition has Part One and Two screening together with no ads or previews and a fancy program in lieu of no opening and closing credits. After playing the Roadshow Edition at the Uptown, it will then be screened as two separate films most likely at the Lagoon. The other rub to all this is that Soderbergh is also releasing Che online January 21. I'm not sure where and how online, but I am generally kind of stupid about such things. Nonetheless, if Che is not coming to a theater near you, Roadshow or otherwise, you can still see it without having to wait.

Soderbergh has guts to release a film like this: breaking the time barrier for normal films and seeking alternative methods of distribution. He obviously has the clout and the respect to do such things and I am glad for that. (In another interesting note on Mr. Soderbergh, he has plans for a 3-D Cleopatra rock musical with Catherine Zeta Jones in the lead. I kid you not.)

There is a lot I would like to say about Che and I feel I said most of it in my review. I will more than likely go to see the Roadshow Edition for the program and to see what the difference is. (The two part version with credits was screened for the press.)

I'm interested in these films that go beyond the three hour mark, because they really behave differently on an psychological level. Our brain has been conditioned to the 90 minute attention span requirement for an average movie. When a movie breaks out of that, especially beyond, it becomes free from certain restraints that most films are held accountable for. I revel in such experiments and like to see these boarders pushed. No doubt this is one reason for my high regard of Che.


Sandy Nawrot said...

Congrats on the getting the review gig on this one! I love the long, two-part movies. Just like the fact that I like long audio books. Lots of character development. At the end, you feel like you have actually lived it a bit. The review in EW was mixed. The critic loved part 1, hated part 2. Maybe he has a 90 minute brain...

Kathie Smith said...

Thanks San. The other thing that was in the paper was how it (the Star Tribune) was filing for bankruptcy. Of course it is a "restructuring" bankruptcy, but unfortunate nonetheless.

It's hard not to compare the two parts because they are so distinct, but they are really one in the same. Although it happens that some might like one half of a film and not the other half, rarely would you simply walk out or walk in halfway through a film. But really this is the option you are given with Che due to the fact that the two parts are being released separately (except for the "Roadshow Edition.")