Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Carlos: Miniseries (2010)****

Reviewed by Guest Blogger Shu Zin

Edgar Ramirez, irresistible in his own right, gives a brilliantly nuanced, sexy and powerful performance as Carlos, aka The Jackal, in CARLOS: MINISERIES. This is an intelligently-written story about the career of a master terrorist and his associations and activities over about 20 yrs, and what makes it a terrific story is the way it builds, with more and more international shenanigans going on behind the scenes.

That aspect alone makes this excellently produced and directed miniseries worth the watch but, rest assured, you will be drawn in, breathless at the sheer hubris of Carlos; his entanglements, revealing as they are of a very flawed man, do little to reduce his magnetism and charm. His story as a revolutionary is spare with historical detail, as little is known about this infamous guy, but by Part 3, your mind will be spinning at the international political and financial entanglements associated with terrorism.

The pace and complexity of his story, as he moves towards becoming the world's most accomplished, mysterious and feared terrorist, are riveting, and we are treated to superior cinematography in visiting an amazing number of exotic places, including E & W Berlin, Paris, London, The Haague, Amsterdam, Beirut, Damascus, Khartoum, Libya, Budapest, South Yemen, Egypt, Bucharest, and this is a partial listing!

In Part 3, director Olivier Assayas picks up the pace, racing a twisty path to a very satisfying and darkly funny conclusion. One is left with questions about Carlos. It is important to heed the advisory at the beginning of each part: this is a fiction, a result of journalistic and investigative research. That said, Carlos’s story is an effective vehicle to expand your appreciation of how terrorists might operate under cover of local government, and how some terrorists are transformed into opportunistic mercenaries, as idealism is corrupted. The politics of terrorism is explored here with fresh eyes, and it certainly opened mine. Excellent, smart, highly recommended.

Reviewed by Guest Blogger Shu Zin

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