Mongol

Starring: Tadanobu Asano, Khulan Chuluun, Honglei Sun

Mongol Poster

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0416044/

This review has very minor spoilers.

Genghis Khan is an interesting topic, he united all of the mogolian clans and built an empire which stretched across one third of the world. He was a ruthless leader who murdered and raped and pillaged throughout his entire life, and yet most people would describe him as “great”. In China and Mongolia he is revered as a Hero, while at the same time there are countries who compare him to the likes of Hitler or Stalin. Regardless of what you think about the man, there is no doubt that he was an accomplished leader, and he definetly makes for an interesting story. This was going to be part one of a trilogy of films based on the Khan’s life by Russian filmmaker Sergei Bodrov. Unfortunatly it’s looking less and less likely that there will be more.

The life of Genghis Khan is extremely interesting, but a good story can only get you so far. I enjoyed the story, even with the odd pacing and unconventional choice of events, but it’s not the story that really grabbed me. Bodrov only cast actors which weren’t well known in the West, which was a great choice since it really let you believe in the characters. The actor playing the Khan was phenomenal and perfectly cast, as was the actor playing his “brother” Jamukha.

Bodrov did a great job of directing his actors, but the film itself falls short due to some less than ideal pacing and his choices for which sections of the Khan’s life to include. The beginning of the film seemed to drag on a bit, while the end almost flew by much too fast. I expected the majority of the film to take place in the Khan’s formative years since this was slated to be a trilogy, and I was mostly right. The problem that arose was that Bodrov seems to have tried to throw in the rest of the Genghis Khan story at the end, without actually spending any time on it. The “final battle” of the film was both short and dissapointing, and the conclusion left me more than confused.

The cinematography for the film was above average and interesting to watch, with a handful of really well shot scenes. The dialogue was fairly well written and believable, and the action was cool when it happened, but it was scarce in the film. I enjoyed the movie and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the life of Genghis Khan, but I have to warn you that it is not very historically accurate. Of course we can only really speculate as to what he was really like, but the movie paints him in a far greater light than common perceptions would.

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~ by Hobbes on October 13, 2008.

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