Olivier Assayas—the brilliant director of Summer Hours
(2002), and Irma Vep
(1996)—chronicles the 20-year career of international terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, popularly known as Carlos the Jackal. Originally produced as a five-and-a-half-hour miniseries for French TV, the film has been condensed to 165 minutes for this theatrical feature. I haven't seen the shorter version, but the longer one is hugely compelling. Like the German drama The Baader Meinhof Complex
(2008), it manages to deliver a steady stream of action thrills even as it reconsiders the international terrorism of the 1960s and '70s for lessons important today.
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The five-hour epic Carlos reveals the fickle spirit of the notorious terrorist.