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It proves difficult not to equate the most wanted terrorist of a generation to an enticing and alluring James Bond type character in Olivier Assayas’s Carlos.
Carlos is the story of “Carlos the Jackal,” or Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, a violent and passionate Venezuelan terrorist, who got his start in the 1970s by joining the Popular Front for the Liberation for Palestine.
With radical views on how to take care of the world’s problems, mainly the liberation of Palestine, Carlos first goes after OPEC, the organization for exporting petroleum internationally, and stages a raid, holding many of its members hostage. Considering himself a soldier, and an unwavering contributor to a cause, Carlos goes further as the film progresses, becoming an unstoppable force in many areas of the world.
The life of Carlos, as well as Edgar Ramirez’s portrayal of the enigmatic figure is what holds us captive. Ramirez is dangerously suave and also clear-headed in the midst of blood-shed in your typically serial-killer kind of way.
It was his wife of thirteen years, Magdalena Kopp (played by the lovely Nora von Waldstatten) who claimed in her book, that “she was unable to resist him despite his notoriety and the danger that came with it.”
The 2 1/2 hour length is necessary to adequately illustrate the shocking reality of Carlos’ unbelievable life, and the exotic settings, retro colors of the decade, and seductive encounters don’t hurt either. One sex scene with a grenade is particularly magnetic.
One of the more epic chronicles on Netflix, enjoy this beautifully disturbing true story of one of the most complex political players of this century.