October 20, 2008

Mongol (2007)

When this was first released I had hoped that it would have gotten a wider theatrical release. Alas, it was given one of those delightful "limited" releases, which basically means that next to no-one got to see it on the big screen. Having now seen it I can maybe kind of see why; it really doesn't have mass appeal, despite it being a very good movie. Having said that though I can't quite understand it creeping onto DVD almost unannounced. I only happened to come across it by chance, so when I did I snapped up the chance to finally watch it.

What you don't get with Mongol is scene after scene of Temudjin, later to be Genghis, Khan ravaging Mongolia doing what he was perhaps most famous for. Instead what follows is the early life of the warrior, following him from childhood up until he does finally become known as Genghis Khan. This did make sense when I found out this is intended to be the first of a trilogy following his entire life. That's not to say that there aren't any battle scenes in Mongol, there are, just maybe not quite as many as you might expect.

The story starts off with Temudjin being a nine year old, travelling with his father in search of his future bride. This we will find out is part of the basis for events later on in his life; Mongols aren't supposed to war over a woman, Temudjin did. Anyway, upon returning from his wife-finding expedition Temudjin's father is poisoned, leaving Temudjin as the Khan of his people. However, loyalty to this clan is not a priority for some of the other folk, and Temudjin and his family are basically cast out.

From here on in the story focuses on his struggle to stay out of slavery, his seemingly eternal search for his wife and his eventual rise to power. It is a story of loyalties, betrayals and of the love for his woman, and quie a damned good story it is too. How much of it is based on truths and how much of it was made up for the screen is not for me to say, as I have no idea, but as a slice of cinema it was most enjoyable. Mongol is filled with lavish set pieces, especially the final battle, gorgeous scenery and incredible cinematography.

For me Mongol worked on both levels; first as a stand alone movie, and secondly as a precursor of events to come later in his life. It isn't perfect, there is only so much that you can fit into a two hour movie, so some events seem to be skimmed over whilst others are dwelled on for slightly too long. That being said I did enjoy this for the most part and would recommend it to anyone that likes sweeping epics, the kind that rarely see the light of day in Western cinema these days.

Rating 3 stars

Review by Jude Felton

1 comment:

thebonebreaker said...

I loved this movie!
[I reviewed it as well - mere minutes before yours actually] :-)

Great Review!!

I am looking forward to the rest of the trilogy!