This is one of those films that inadvertently reflects its story. Its about a massive but well intentioned failure. The failure in the story is a revolution, probably of the type the current regime would adopt as its own. The failure of the film is of the same type: it has grand visions and incompetence in the matters of life that demand broad insight and expertise.
It short, it is pretty; it is epic and grand. And it is soulless. Its nothing but clichés, narrative and cinematic. How many horizon shots should you allow before you say too many? Two dozen? Three? How many automatic plot turns do you tolerate? (The "big guy" who always wins in wrestling? Will he lose to the hero? Will he become best friend? Will he be sacrificed? Bing. Bing. Bing.)
How many times can we see a pure love expressed using one cinematic device before we loose belief in it? That device, by the way, is among the few cinematic devices we appreciated. Its a flowing 20 foot piece of red silk that our lovely woman trails behind her while her manly lover follows on horseback. Its truly lovely, as many, many shots are in this project. But it and other wonderful shots are overused until we almost laugh. Until halfway however, it is hypnotically romantic.
The story itself is in the tradition of Chinese film, where the emotional history of a couple is mapped onto shifts in political fortunes. Sometimes it works. Here, it does not because there isn't any common threat. Its like it is in non-Chinese films where the external events affect and challenge the internal ones rather than mirroring them.
The girl is feisty, pretty, and I suppose matches a very specific stereotype the Chinese have of Mongolians. In the US, it would be a tomboy/ cowgirl, I suppose.
Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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