Jul 18, 2011

Upcoming Spy DVDs: Carlos (2010)

The Criterion Collection has announced DVD and Blu-ray editions of Olivier Assayas' 2010 epic Carlos. If you were annoyed that the Matt Damon films of Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne novels omitted the notorious real-life terrorist who served as Bourne's primary antagonist in the books, this 339-minute opus is sure to deliver all the Ilich Ramírez Sanchez action you could possibly desire. Carlos tracks the man better known as Carlos the Jackal (a nickname given by the press and inspired by another spy novel, Frederick Forsyth's The Day of the Jackal) in what Criterion's copy describes as "an intensely detailed account of the life of the infamous international terrorist."
One of the twentieth century’s most-wanted fugitives, Carlos was committed to violent left-wing activism throughout the seventies and eighties, orchestrating bombings, kidnappings, and hijackings in Europe and the Middle East. Assayas portrays him not as a criminal mastermind but as a symbol of seismic political shifts around the world, and the magnetic Édgar Ramírez [who, oddly, did appear as an antagonist in The Bourne Ultimatum, just not Carlos] brilliantly embodies him as a swaggering global gangster. Criterion presents the complete, uncut, director-approved, five-and-a-half-hour version of Carlos.
This release is the full 339-minute version that aired as a mini-series on European and American television (and is available to view on Netflix streaming), not the cut-down theatrical version released in some movie theaters. Besides Criterion's usual high-definition digital transfer (supervised by cinematographers Denis Lenoir and Yorick Le Saux), the DVD and Blu-ray editions include new video interviews with Assayas, Ramírez, and Lenoir, selected-scene commentary from Lenoir, the hour-long documentary on the terrorist's real-life career "Carlos: Terrorist Without Borders," an archival interview with Carlos associate Hans-Joachim Klein, a feature-length documentary on a Carlos bombing not included in the film called "Maison de France," a twenty-minute making-of documentary on the film’s OPEC raid scene, the original theatrical trailer and a booklet featuring essays by critics Colin MacCabe and Greil Marcus, as well as a timeline of Carlos’s life and biographies of selected figures portrayed in the film, written by Carlos’s historical adviser, Stephen Smith. That's a heck of a lot of extras!

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