Che Part 1, which was directed by Steven Soderbergh, was an extremely well made movie about the later revolutionary part of Ernesto “Che” Guevara. This was more or less a direct continuation of the “Motorcycle Diaries” which told the story about how he had come to be a revolutionary thinker in the first place. The film bounces around on the timeline of his life, in one moment showing him with his soldiers, the next he might be addressing the U.N., and the next he would be in the ongoing interview with Lisa Howard. Most importantly, while the film gives insight into how he commanded his soldiers, the brilliant tactician that he was, as well as the incredible orator that he showed himself to be, the movie also shows the Cuban Revolution from a sort of inside out perspective.
Che is shown to be a good commander who commands the respect and attention of his men. Likewise he shows his skill as a commander by leading assaults on the Cuban military, and coming away with substantial victories on many occasions, the most important of which was the victory in The Battle of Santa Clara. More importantly though, the film goes out of its way to show the compassionate side of Che, and how this added to his mystique and strength as one of Fidel Castro’s most trusted subordinates. On at least two occasions, when the fighting had slowed to the point where he was able to, Che gave his men the opportunity to end their part in the fight and go home. He also showed that he wouldn’t hold with having weak men in his column when, in another part he was recruiting new soldiers he refused to allow to young student fight with his men because he thought they couldn’t handle it. However, later he praised the two young men when they stayed loyal when others were choosing to end their part in the fight.
The main focus of the movie, is on the guerilla tactics that the Cubans used, and it showed how effective a strategy it was. The resistance managed to fight a much larger force, by rarely attacking when the enemy was stronger, always using the element of surprise, and specifically picking targets that, when they were destroyed, the propaganda machine in Havana couldn’t explain away. What Che realized was that they desperately need the support of the common farmers. He even wrote that, “Warfare is a people’s warfare; an attempt to carry out this type of war without the population’s support is a prelude to inevitable disaster.” (Guerilla Warfare: A method) This is why the movie took the time to show him meeting with village leaders trying to get them to join and trying to allay their fears about the revolution being closely related with the Soviet Union. It was the widespread support he gathered that ultimately led to their victory.
The last big emphasis was on Che the speaker. Multiple times in the movie he is shown to be giving inspirational speeches, as well as being sent by Castro to negotiations because of his political savvy. He believed strongly in what he was doing and it came out in his speeches. Most notably in speech to the Tricontinental when he said, “Wherever death may surprise us, let it be welcome, provided that this, our battle cry, may have reached some receptive ear.” (Message to the Tricontinental) It was speeches like that, that made him so popular, made him so valuable to Castro, and the film does a fantastic job of showing just how irreplaceable he was to the resistance.