Two Russian soldiers, one battle-seasoned and the other barely into his boots and uniform, are taken prisoner by an anxious Islamic father from a remote village hoping to trade them for his captured son.
A band of young musicians is looking for fees across the steppe in an ramshackle old bus. During their tour, starving, they kill a cow but they don't know what to do with it. They will also... See full summary »
The movie is an epic story of a young Genghis Khan and how events in his early life lead him to become a legendary conqueror. The 9-year-old Temüjin is taken on a trip by his father to select a girl as his future wife. He meets Börte, who says she would like to be chosen, which he does. He promises to return after five years to marry her. Temüjin's father is poisoned on the trip, and dies. As a boy Temüjin passes through starvation, humiliations and even slavery, but later with the help of Börte he overcomes all of his childhood hardships to become one of the greatest conquerors the world has ever known. Written by
During the shooting of scenes involving a lot of extras, it was discovered that many of the extras were drinking alcohol between takes, which was causing problems amongst the mixed nationalities when shooting began. As such, the production purchased some footballs and the extras played soccer amongst themselves. However, after several weeks, they became bored with this, and soon returned to drinking, until second assistant director Zhao Meng had the idea to hire some female dancers and singers, and bring them onto location to perform for the extras. See more »
Non-Mongolian characters in this movie speak modern standard Mandarin Chinese. This would be incorrect because, this language as the standard Chinese language originates with the Qing Dynasty hundreds of years later, the regions depicted in the movie appear to be central and western China where they would speak a different dialect and several characters speaking Chinese don't appear to be Chinese and all and would most likely be speaking a Turkic dialect. See more »
An epic vision that works better as a work of fiction
Sergei Bodrov's Mongol provides something of a biography of the early years of Genghis Khan, at this point known as Temudjin. The film is destined to be historically flawed as there is little known about his life; this being said, Bodrov takes large handfuls of creative license. Bodrov's Mongol attempts to capture a man's rise to power in just two hours without making a rushed film; this impossible feat is Mongol's only true shortcoming.
Mongol is very much a "based off a true story" kind of movie. We certainly aren't seeing the true Genghis Khan. The film is riddled with historical inaccuracies, he is captured three times during the film, in reality he was only captured once. However, historical accuracy is not Bodrov's intent. Sergei Bodrov, grew up in the Soviet Union, a place where Genghis Khan is painted as a vicious killing machine. Mongol attempts to humanize him. This is the film's strongest point.
Mongol is just a good love story. Temudjin picks a bride at age nine named Börte and is set to wed her in five years. Soon after his father, a Khan, is killed. Betrayed by those his father used to command, Temudjin is left with nothing and swears to take it all back. This is the basic premise of Mongol. The relationship between Temudjin and Börte is portrayed as beautifully simple love. The film uses this connection to move the plot rather than bloody violence. Mongol does, however, contain several spectacular battles. Bodrov seems to have taken a page out of 300 and we're given a splattering of death sequences that while all together different feel and are shot similarly.
The largest flaw of the film is it's continuity. Bodrov, in order to condense the story under 120 minutes constantly cuts scenes in half. He will start a conflict and cut to it being over, leaving the audience to infer what happened. This is a double edged sword, on one hand it frees up time for necessary character development, on the other it makes the film feel choppy. Mongol is one of the few films that should be 15 minutes longer.
In the end, Sergei Bodrov's Mongol is an epic war film that succeeds not only on that level, but as a beautiful love story. The breathtaking landscapes of Mongolia provide an awe inspiring backdrop for the action on the screen. Mongol is a film of proportions not usually seen in Russian or Asian cinema. It delivers on a level that rivals if not surpasses many Hollywood blockbusters while keeping surprising heart evident throughout the film. Mongol truly is an inspiring film not only for the eyes.
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