Friday, February 11, 2011

Carlos Mini-Series Is Perception Shifting

Oliver Assaya's Carlos, a mini-series made for French TV covers over two decades of the life of Carlos the Jackal, aka the FBI's Most Wanted Man in the World. The film follows the humble beginnings of a man whose name would strike fear into the hearts of millions as the most ruthless, daring terrorist in the world.

Played with charismatic fury by Edgar Martinez and running over 5 1/2 hours in length, the viewer begins to understand the motivations behind horrifying acts of violence. The film brilliantly straddles the line of empathy for Carlos, while never fully crossing the line into full sympathy the viewer does come to a clearer understand for the international political climate at the time. One of the truly fascinating aspects of the narrative is the roles played by many countries, constantly shifting loyalties, on the deplorable savagery of the period.

Superb - watch the full 5 1/2 hour version rather than the truncated 2 1/2 re-cut version. If, like me, you happen to find yourself sick on the couch, it is a great way to spend 5 1/2 hours as the film clips along, never dragging once.