One of the greatest travelers in human history, 21 year old law student Ibn Battutah set out alone to Mecca from Tangiers in 1325 and returned to Morocco almost 30 years later. This is the ... See full summary »
Giuseppe Verdi's Il Trovatore One of the most enduringly popular operas in the repertoire, Il Trovatore was first seen at Rome's Teatro Apollo in 1853. Together with Rigoletto and La ... See full summary »
Chorus of the Staatskapelle Berlin,
A former British Army officer, who was tormented as a prisoner of war at a Japanese labor camp during World War II, discovers that the man responsible for much of his treatment is still alive and sets out to confront him.
A war photographer who recently endured a brutal detainment in Libya holes up in Sicily to come to terms with her ordeal, not far from the home of her former lover and mentor. Soon she ... See full summary »
October 5, 1974: In the suburbs of Santiago, pregnant Carmen is badly injured and her partner Miguel, head of the resistance against Pinochet's dictatorship, is killed in combat. So begins a journey into the memories of the defeated...
When nine-year-old Rob Cole felt the life force slipping from his mother's hand he could not foresee that this terrifying awareness of impending death was a gift that would lead him from the familiar life of 11th-century London to small villages throughout England and finally to the medical school at Ispahan. Though apprenticed to an itinerant barber surgeon, it is the dazzling surgery of a Jewish physician trained by the legendary Persian physician Avicenna that inspires him to accept his gift and to commit his life to healing by studying at Avicenna's school. Despite the ban on Christian students, Rob goes there, disguising himself as a Jew to gain admission. Gordon has written an adventurous and inspiring tale of a quest for medical knowledge pursued in a violent world full of superstition and prejudice. Written by
Literary Guild alternate
Wondrous movie, about the good old days. Sort of :)
The two hours and a half movie has a lot of good things going for it. First there is the acting, coming from people that are mostly quite unknown, but which is good even for actors in secondary roles. Stellan Skarsgård and Ben Kingsley do, as expected, a great job. Then there are the landscapes, starting from wet green Britain and ending in the Arabian desert. But of course, the best of it all is the story.
In an age where Europe is a cesspool of ignorance and filth, while the East is where the knowledge resides, the plot follows a young boy witnessing the death of his mother from an incurable disease, which I assume is appendicitis, and grows to want to become a healer. Pretending to be a Jew, he travels to the Middle East to train with a famous and wise healer, played by Kingsley. He proceeds in defeating diseases, healing friends and finding the love of his life, while religious extremism and violence stretch through the region.
Now, I have some qualms with some of the details of the story. I understand they tried to describe a larger piece of history in the span of a single movie and I also understand that drama requires brutal realism while the mechanisms of movie making require happy endings and satisfying the money people. However, there are some things that just don't sit well, like presenting Europeans as filthy barbarians using their faith only to oppress, the Arabs as either tyrants or violent zealots, while Jews are all nice, helpful and never take up weapons to hurt anyone. This kind of unilateral bias sours an otherwise quite nice and beautiful story. The repeated scenes of the Torah burning (oy vey) while tomes of medical knowledge burning in Ibn Sina's university were mere an afterthought is one of those things, too.
Bottom line: the switch from filthy barbarism to enlightened richness, from decadence to overzealous morality, from peaceful people to thieves and murderers and all back again makes for an inconsistent world. However it is a nicely presented world, with interesting well played characters in epic journeys that change their and the viewer's perspective on the world. A well done movie, I would have preferred it less biased and more focused, but one can't look a horse gift in the mouth; after all, how many new movies are there to advocate science and knowledge over special effects and cheap emotions? Good film. You should watch it.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?