Steven Soderbergh’s much-anticipated Che Guevara biopic debuted last night at Cannes, and critics agree on at least two points: It was really, really long, and American audiences might never get to see it. A tough sell to distributors, the 4½-hour Che focuses almost entirely on military procedure, with mirror halves depicting first the successful Cuban revolution, then the failed Bolivian one.
Reviews were mixed. A.O. Scott, in the New York Times, was annoyed the film left out Guevara's darker moments, but found it provocative. Todd McCarthy, in Variety, is less kind, saying it offers “far too many aggravations for its paltry rewards.” Soderbergh contends the film couldn’t be shorter, and needn’t be dramatic. “I find it hilarious that people say movies are too conventional,” then criticize Che, he said.