Carlos, the story of international revolutionary Ilich Ramírez Sánchez (codename: Carlos), is a rich and detailed portrait of a man and a time. Writer and Director Olivier Assasyas has produced a long film (in three parts, it’s over 5 hours), but well worth it for the knowledge it imparts about the political intrigues and the shifting sands of terrorism throughout the world. As the terrorist/revolutionary known as Carlos, Edgar Ramirez is magnificent as the fervent, violent, charismatic misogynist assassin that eluded capture for many years, until time had passed him and his particular brand of revolution for hire by. For he was essentially a mercenary for hire. However, that’s the way it works.
For me, the scenes about the Russian involvement in the plotting against Anwar Sadat was the most revelatory, but the details of the attack on the OPEC meeting were the most riveting and tense in its accounting. Many times in films like this, the ‘story’ is hard to follow. In Assasyas’ film, there is no such problem, which admittedly may be due to the fact that there are not the time constraints of most films. The story is told completely and with no short cuts. This is playing on Sundance finally. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Want to know what narcissism looks like? Ramirez shows us in an early scene as he gets out of bed, stands in front of a mirror and strokes himself, patting his lean body admiringly
This is really a very good film (originally shown as a mini-series on French television) that doesn’t seem as long as it plays – it’s that riveting. I watched the entire film in one sitting this weekend.