Che: Part One Blu-ray Review
Optimum Home Entertainment are the British distributors for this film and they have chosen to lock it to Region B. So this one will only play on suitably equipped machines.
'Che' is encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and the blu-ray is framed in a 2.35:1 ratio.
The film can be erratic in nature and remains true to what you would expect of Soderbergh's style. There are quite a few black and whites drop-ins and edits. Interview footage and the whole UN episode is presented in a heavily grained monotone image. This is of course by design and it adds an aged realism to the film.
Nevertheless, the disc is presented in high definition and there is more than enough quality for a visually satisfying experience. The jungles and wild's of Cuba always appear lush with colours. The images are especially vibrant in the naturally lit scenes with the colours always appearing vividly saturated. The detail is excellent and the contrast and black levels are pretty much spot on.
The film has been digitally enhanced and on occasion edge enhancement appears visible. The image does at times also feel a little soft, probably due to the camera techniques involved. Perhaps this is why edge enhancement was used?
The transfer is otherwise free from any dirt, blemishes or noise. Overall it's a quality disc and I doubt there will be many who will complain.
When it comes to audio you've no headaches with what to choose from here. The choice is made really simple, you have only one and it's in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 form.
The audio is in Spanish and the English subtitles drop in whenever needed. You get spoken English interspersed in the film here but generally it's in the form of an interviewer's narrative.
Whilst you don't have quantity of choice you certainly do get quality. This is a surprisingly potent soundtrack underlined with tight and responsive bass undertones. There is good rear channel activity which provides an all encompassing aural experience. The battle at Santa Clara for example has enough about it for example to have you perched upright.
Still, it's a film that centres around dialogue and there are absolutely no complaints with the clarity of the sound. Dialogue and clarity are both impeccable. There is also no hint of it sounding 'tinny' or falling foul of the higher frequencies. The balance of the mix is controlled and measured and the results are excellent.
For music lovers the Alberto Iglesias' musical score caps it all off by adding a sombre yet enriching tone to the whole film. It's an excellent sound track.
Unfortunately 'Che' is not best endowed with a wealth of extras. This is a real pity as there is so much stuff that could and should have been included. There really is no excuse for not including far more substantial material about both the film and the man himself.
As a result there are only two extras of note and quite criminally there is no audio commentary to accompany the film.
Che Featurette -(10mins 49secs) - A behind the scenes look at the making of the film along with comments from Benicio Del Toro, Steven Soderbergh and Demian Bichir. It's presented in High Definition and is a mix of spoken Spanish and English.
Exclusive Interview with Steven Soderbergh - (13mins 19secs) - This one is a straightforward first person interview with Steven Soderbergh about the film. Surprisingly it kicks off with him candidly admitting he knew very little about Guevara. The questions appear as banners breaking up each response but it all feels a little too cold and it never really flows with a satisfying conviction.
Trailers - Here you get a 'Teaser' of the film along with a 'Theatrical' trailer.
In some ways there has been divided opinion on whether this film was a success for Steven Soderbergh or not. It is undoubtedly a good film about a very interesting political character of the 20th Century but is it worthy being a biopic of Ernesto 'Che' Guevara?
Che Part One is a film which in many cases you will either 'get' or in some others perhaps not. Whilst the story that is depicted is true and was immensely momentous for both Cuba and Latin America, you don't feel the same sense of importance coming across in the film. I'm not sure why this is so but it all came across as a little too matter of fact for me.
Nevertheless, the director has added his own inimitable style to this biopic and the film is very well made indeed. The use of edits and inserts certainly works and the whole episode of the address to the UN in New York is extremely well done.
Optimum have chosen to lock this disc to Region B, so please make sure your player is not restricted otherwise. The video quality of the disc is excellent and the audio sound track has a real sense of quality about it. The real let down are the extras. What on earth were they thinking when they decided not to provide an audio commentary on a film like this?
It's also worth noting that Part Two should be watched in tandem with Part One or at least in direct succession of it. This may help to get a better sense of balance across the two.
I would therefore recommend both discs as a purchase or better still as a box set for completeness sake. Although, there does remain a slight doubt as to whether these films are actually up for repeated viewings. For some of you, this may prove to be the deciding factor before purchase. Nevertheless, Che Part One is still an excellent film.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.99
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.