“Carlos,” a new movie about Venezuela-born Ilich Ramirez Sanchez – who gained fame in the 1970s under his nom de guerre, Carlos the Jackal – portrays the terrorist as a committed Marxist revolutionary and remorseless killer who mixes his murderous business with a substantial degree of pleasure. Venezuelan actor Edgar Ramirez grippingly portrays the Jackal as a narcissistic sociopath free of “bourgeois” baggage like guilt or shame that could slow his killing spree. He’s the perfect romantic (sic) villain: charismatic, intelligent and ruthless. One reviewer described a scene in which Carlos bombs a London bank and then takes a luxuriously steamy bath as “the most disgustingly sexy thing you’ve seen in a while.”
…”Carlos” is a window on another time, 35 years ago, when the threat of international terrorism was overshadowed by the reality of Cold War competition and nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union. The current mania for anti-terrorism measures and building security was nonexistent. It was a time when a gang of rough-looking characters with duffel bags filled with weapons could walk into a building hosting a ministerial meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and be directed by the staff to the conference room. It was an era when it was perfectly reasonable for terrorists to use a rocket launcher to attack an airplane on an airport runway and, a week later, make the same type of attack at the same airport.
Today, because of the efforts of the generation of terrorists inspired by the Jackal, metal detectors are a way of life and passengers can’t board airplanes without removing their shoes and surrendering their juice boxes. Thanks, Carlos.
Romantic? This is something romantic:
A killer? What does have to do with romanticism?