Mongol

October 16th, 2008 DVD Reviews, Film, Xpress

The story of Genghis Kahn before he came to power was a shoe-in in this sage of CGI battle scenes and movie warlust, so this Mongolian language epic has an eye squarely on Western audiences.

We meet Temudjin (not many people will realise the term ‘Genghis Khan’ is a political title and not a name) as a young boy as he selects a bride from a neighbouring village, but falls victim to a coup de tat when his tribal chief father dies and potential suitors for his position jostle for supremacy, the boy and what remains of his family caught in the middle.

His quest is to return for the woman he’s chosen for his bride, but along the way he’s captured, enslaved, and eventually dragged into a war against his old enemies.

We get a very Hollywood version of the man here — portraying him as a simple man who loves his chosen wife and wants peace in his land. The life he’s famous for — conquering the known world of the Eurasian continent by slaughtering half of it is a brief send-off in the supertext at the end.

It’s sweeping and grandiose, as every director seems to aim for in the wake of the Lord of the Rings aesthetic that still holds sway over war movies, so lots of shots of armies lined up ready to fight along forbidding battlefields and men and horses crashing together in a clang of weapons.

In between all the spectacle, there’s an engaging enough drama to keep you interested, but it shouldn’t be taken as historical gospel.


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