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Carlos - 19/10/2010 4:25:40 AM   
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Carlos - 30/10/2010 11:10:42 PM   


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Director: Olivier Assayas
Screenwriters: Dan Franck, Olivier Assayas
Starring: Edgar Ramirez, Alexander Scheer, Nora von Waldstätten, Ahmad Kaabour, Christoph Bach, Susanne Wuest, Anna Thalbach, Julia Hummer

This is the story of Venezuelan revolutionary Ilich Ramirez Sanchez aka Carlos the Jackal (Ramirez), who founded a worldwide terrorist organization and raided the 1975 OPEC meeting.

Two years ago, Cannes presented in their film festival Steven Soderbergh’s two-part biopic Che, which is about the Marxist revolutionary Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara. Premiered there in its entirety (268 minutes), Che was spilt into two films for general release. In this year’s Cannes Film Festival, came the premiere of another biopic about another revolutionary, only this time it’s an hour longer than Soderbergh’s film.

Originally made as a three-part mini-series (which is to be released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 1st), two versions have been released at the cinema: the original six-hour piece and a cut version to conventionally fit the standards of a multiplex. Fortunately, this critic had the great privilege at sitting in a cinema for six hours.

If you’re someone at a certain age-rate, you ought to be familiar with Carlos the Jackal, who has become a blueprint for various fictional stories, such as the classic Day of the Jackal and Robert Ludlum’s novel The Bourne Identity. If you are interested in the factual Jackal himself, Olivier Assayas’ latest explores this very subject.

Presented as a three-parter in the screening I went to, each of the acts are depicted differently from one another, and yet the whole piece chronologically explores Carlos’ two decades as the notorious terrorist. The first part explores the rise of this man, who started as a soldier who fought for the Palestinian Revolution. The use of storytelling within this act is occasionally unstable because the timeline constantly moves forward and make the audience unsure of what the actions are from Carlos’ gang.

During his time as a terrorist, he became a celebrity in the world of international politics as he achieved notoriety for the infamous 1975 raid on the OPEC headquarters in Vienna, which is greatly depicted in part two. This whole section is the film’s finest as Assayas’ direction thoroughly details the actions within this raid from the suspenseful insertion to the quietly-witty interactions of Carlos, his team and the hostages, and finally to the climatic aftermath.

In the third and final part, we see Carlos lost in a world in which he is no longer famous and we see him in utter wreck from not only his troubled family life but also some dysfunctional body functions. This section is not about the guns, but the downfall of an icon which is somewhat tragic and it’s the subtleness that makes it triumphant.

Whilst Assayas successfully keeps the political subtext interesting through the six hours, the real hero is the Jackal himself, played by Edgar Ramirez. Best known as the hitman from The Bourne Ultimatum as well as his supportive performance on Tony Scott’s dreadful Domino, Ramirez is doing a career-best performance as a man who loves life so much that for him it is not a game. For him, it’s a matter of life and death, because of what he is which is being an enemy of the law. Also as a bonus, we get a lot of shots of a fully-nude Jackal to please the woman out there.

Long and occasionally tough to follow, Olivier Assayas’ Carlos is an epic in-depth political thriller looking at the life of the revolutionary terrorist, displayed in a terrific lead performance.

< Message edited by R W -- 30/10/2010 11:12:29 PM >

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- 10/2/2012 4:49:57 PM   
Turd Ferguson


Posts: 72
Joined: 24/2/2011
Excellent! Ramirez is remarkable. Top notch story line as well.

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