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MOVIE REVIEW: Carlos

Who could sit through a five-hour-plus movie?

Edgar Ramirez as Carlos the Jackal in "Carlos."

Edgar Ramirez as Carlos the Jackal in "Carlos."

  • Edgar Ramirez as Carlos the Jackal in "Carlos."
  • (Right) Edgar Ramirez as Carlos the Jackal in "Carlos."
  • Carlos
  • Carlos
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You say you want a revolution, well…you don’t. Not when it’s 5 ½ hours long!

Oh, all those folks out there thinking movie critics have an easy life of popcorn and free movies. Hey, sometimes we have to sit through almost six hours of a film.

This is a biopic that follows Carlos the Jackal during a 20-year period. The Venezuelan revolutionary founded a terrorist network, and goes from fighting for a “cause” to merely being a hired gun.

If there’s any terrorist that deserves a biopic, he’s a nice choice. I’m just not sure why it wasn’t shortened. Trim the fat from the story and make a more meaty film.

It reminds me of Mesrine (which also had actor Edgar Ramirez). At least that movie was done in two parts.

I never saw Che, which was also in two parts. Come on, people! Get into the editing room.

Earlier this year, I saw a movie about John Lennon’s early days before he became a Beatle. There was a movie about his days after the Beatles. Heck, there have been movies based on one Beatles album (anyone remember the horrible Sgt. Pepper?). As much as we all love The Beatles, we don’t want to sit through a six hour movie about them.

This movie has too many leaps from time periods and was disorienting at times. And it didn’t have the best dialogue (although I must admit liking the line “I’m used to more serious weapons,” when he’s handed a pistol).

Watching this was a tedious experience, and I did it over three days (which reminds me of the great movie Three Days of the Jackal).

Carlos gave himself that name, but was given “the Jackal” by the media. The moniker works. It’s funny because just this morning in the paper I read about a “Drywall bandit” who wears a certain type of mask used when you drywall. Yesterday there was a “Dapper bandit,” who is kind enough to dress up before robbing banks. And let’s not forget about San Diego’s most popular bandit – the Geezer.

This movie is yet another French film I’m disappointed with. Not a fan of their food or their films.

It’s a shame, because Ramirez, speaking many languages, is a thrill to watch. He was well-cast (kinda funny that he played a CIA assassin in The Bourne Ultimatum), and parts of Carlos are well-made.

I didn’t care for the music, and I’m never a fan of fictionalizing parts of a biopic. I also would’ve enjoyed a movie that gave us more moments of Carlos the Man, instead of just the Jackal. I understand that isn’t what they were going for, but at 5 ½ hours…you can give us less bravado and more...I don’t know. Time with family and friends (he claims to never forget a friend, so…let’s see some of those friends).

The movie had too many mundane moments for me to recommend.

I complain about theatres charging extra for 3D movies – well with this, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck. There’s an edited version out there, but you get the whole 5½ hours at the Reading Gaslamp, with an intermission.

The real Carlos is in prison now. No hail of bullets like the ending of Bonnie & Clyde. He was simply having a varicose vein removed from his testicles when he was caught. Yikes.

I’m giving this a D+.