Carlos (2010)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Carlos</strong> (2010)

(On DVD, February 2012) This film certainly isn’t bad, but as a biography of Carlos “the Jackal” Ramirez, it should have been quite a bit better.  Part of the problem, as discovered while reading about this two-hours-and-a-half film, is that it’s a cut version of an even longer five-hours TV series.  This certainly explains the inconsistent rhythm of the movie, which sputters over lengthy periods of his life while focusing endlessly on much shorter sequences (one hour on a single terrorist operation here, five minutes on a single seduction/recruitment scene there) and ending with a long and drawn-out epilogue.  The result is a biopic that lacks focus and can’t really deliver a coherent look at its subject’s life in-between episodes.  This being said, the film does deliver on a few of its promises: The sense of being thrown back in time is convincing, and it’s hard to over-praise Edgar Martinez in the lead role –especially considering the physical changes required in portraying the fat and dissolute latter-day Carlos.  At times, though, Carlos feels like a film for people who already know all about his life history and just want a visual illustration: perhaps victim of the show-to-movie cutting process, it often feels as if we’re not even given the bare minimum of information in order to fully appreciate what’s happening.  The result is a bit of a muddle: A long sit and yet a film that feels as if it has a lot of missing parts.

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