Olivier Assayas—the brilliant director of Summer Hours (2008), Demonlover (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 miniseries for French TV, this three-part movie totals five and a half hours, but it’s compelling throughout; 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. The most gripping episode is an hour-long sequence in which Carlos takes the conference of OPEC ministers hostage in 1975, and the negotiated settlement that ends the crisis also sets the stage for Carlos’s long decline in the 80s and 90s, when the fall of the Soviet bloc left him a man without a country.