Mumble in the Jungle

The Guardian‘s Simon Hattenstone is calling Benicio Del Toro “Hollywood’s finest mumbler since Marlon Brando. He is never better than when mumbling his lines. Except, possibly, when he has no lines to mumble at all. He loves nothing more than paring a script down to nothing. No one can grunt, wince or wheeze their way through a movie quite like Del Toro.

“Which makes his new film, Che, the perfect vehicle for him. In the movie, to be released in two parts (The Argentine and Guerrilla), Del Toro’s Che Guevara grunts through 253 minutes of action. This is a walking, rarely talking, gun-toting revolutionary wheeze machine. His performance makes Che in turn one of the most boring and most captivating films I have seen.” He doesn’t really mean “boring.” He just settled on that word as he punching the piece out. He trying to say “conventionally undramatic.”

“Politician, writer, traveller, biker, doctor, guerrilla and poster boy: few people have a more fascinating story than Guevara. But director Steven Soderbergh and Del Toro as good as refuse to tell it. There is hardly any narrative — we simply watch him hacking his way through the jungles of Cuba in part one and Bolivia in part two. It is a sublimely contrary piece of film-making. Only in the last minute does Soderbergh even attempt to humanize his protagonist as he reveals that he has left his four children at home.

“Hollywood trade paper Variety said Guerrilla had all the excitement of a military training documentary. And yet such is the physicality of Del Toro’s performance, the way he inhabits Guevara, that you can’t take your eyes off him.”

  • scooterzz

    i recieved the ‘che’ screeners on friday along with a cover letter saying that the film would be released as two seperate admissions on 1/9 ‘titled ‘che part one’ and ‘che part two”….so, apparently, ‘the argentine’ and ‘guerrilla’ have been reduced to subtitles that won’t be used in the national rollout….

  • Mark Ruffalo is a pretty good mumbler too…

  • oranthal james

    Uh, yes Jeffrey, he does mean boring… And he’s being way too kind.

  • p.Vice

    Somehow I feel like I’ve already seen this at least three or four times.

  • LexG

    I liked the movie, but directors and stylists REALLY need to work on getting WIGS down; You’d think after 95 years of cinema, someone could make a convincing wig or fake facial hair by now, but CHE suffers from a few too many dubious hairpieces; I realize it’s not realistic given tight shoots and limited actor availability/working on two projects at once, but ACTORS SHOULD GROW OUT THEIR OWN HAIR whenever possible, because WIGS ALWAYS LOOK FAKE and destroy the verisimilitude of the picture.

    For something like this, BDT should’ve grown out his hair for a year prior to shooting, then SS could’ve filmed all the long hair stuff first and then progressively had Del Toro’s hair cut down and filmed in that order. Because Kyle McLachlan’s piece in THE DOORS or Macy’s in BOOGIE NIGHTS look downright real compared to Del Toro’s STICK A BALLCAP OVER A FRIGHTWIG look in certain parts of GUERILLA.

  • EnglishBob

    “He’ll flip ya. He’ll flip ya for real!”

  • BurmaShave

    Oh, is that the one about the hooker with the dysentery?

  • D.Z.
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