An 18th century English cartographer, Jonathan Green, sets out on a journey to map the uncharted lands of Transylvania, only to discover the dark secrets and dangerous creatures hidden in a cursed, fantastical Romanian forest.
Early 18th century. Cartographer Jonathan Green undertakes a scientific voyage from Europe to the East. Having passed through Transylvania and crossed the Carpathian Mountains, he finds himself in a small village lost in impassible woods. Nothing but chance and heavy fog could bring him to this cursed place. People who live here do not resemble any other people which the traveler saw before that. The villagers, having dug a deep moat to fend themselves from the rest of the world, share a naive belief that they could save themselves from evil, failing to understand that evil has made its nest in their souls and is waiting for an opportunity to gush out upon the world. Written by
An adaptation of Nikolay Gogol's popular 1835 short story about the demon Viy -- whose gaze was deadly if met eye-to-eye -- it was originally scheduled to be released in 2009 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Gogol's birth. See more »
Surreal and pragmatic but difficult to fully appreciate....
Forbidden Kingdom is surreal and pragmatic at the same time. Its a disorienting mix that mostly works, even though it probably should not.
There's a lot of fantastical, hellish fantasy elements in this film, that have a rather medieval feel to them. Horned demons, winged sprites and variety of other bizarre creations. This sits alongside a rather pragmatic tale of rationalism with an inexplicable, religious twist.
The acting seems reasonable but I feel a lot has been lost in translation. Its pretty clear the Russian component of this film has been dubbed. As a result I suspect is a lot of the meaning conveyed in Russian that would help to fully explain the story has been lost. As a result, for English speakers like myself, this film may have a disjointed feel to it. There is no clear segue between the scenes that make up the story and as a consequence no sense of cohesion and unity in the overall story itself.
Its worth briefly mentioning the cinematography used in this film. Its truly exceptional and really gives this film great visual depth and beauty.
All in all, for a non Russian audience this film may be a little too difficult to grasp and fully appreciate. As I said, the English translation does this film no favours. As a result its hard for me to offer an unequivocal thumbs up. That said, this is still a highly original and very creative film, reminiscent of works by Tim Burton. As such, I would suggest its still worth your time. Seven out of ten from me.
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