Entertainment

5 1/2-Hour Carlos the Jackal Biopic is Riveting

| by Hollywood Elsewhere

Having seen Olivier Assayas' Carlos a couple of weeks ago, Indiewire's Todd McCarthy today posted his review -- an over-the-waterfalls rave that'll probably seem like the most incisive and carefully measured assessment coming out today, as everyone else is writing their reviews as we speak (the big Cannes screening ended about an hour ago) and at best taking stabs at the range and sprawl of the thing as best they can, myself included.

"Carlos is everything Che wanted to be and much, much more -- a dynamic, convincing and revelatory account of a notorious revolutionary terrorist's career that rivets the attention during every one of its 321 minutes," be begins. "In what is certainly his best work, Assayas adopts a fleet, ever-propulsive style that creates an extraordinary you-are-there sense of verisimilitude, while Edgar Ramirez inhabits the title role with arrogant charisma of Brando in his prime. It's an astonishing film.

"Like Che, Carlos carries with it an unwieldy running time that will limit wide theatrical release, although it will thrive on television and DVD; the work's roots as a French TV production are what cost it a competition berth at Cannes, where it world premiered as a non-competing title in the official selection. On the other hand, the vast majority of people keen to see Carlos will certainly want to opt for the full five-hour-plus wide-screen experience rather than the two-and-a-half-hour theatrical version Assayas has prepared.

"And for all its rigor, Carlos, unlike Che, produces real movie-movie excitement, action, sex and suspense, which will help generate a considerable worldwide public."

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