The Extraordinary Early Years of a Man Who Would Conquer the World.
"...a big, ponderous epic, its beautifully composed landscape shots punctuated by thundering hooves and bloody, slow-motion battle sequences. A.O. Scott, The New York Times
|History knows him as Genghis Khan, but before he became a warlord, he was simply a man named Temudgin. Exiled into slavery as a boy and forced into a life of struggle after his father is killed by a rival clan, the greatest military mastermind of all time survived on the strength of a single dream: to unite his people into the largest empire the world has ever known.|
Asano Tadanobu portrays Temudgin in director Sergei Bodrov's sweeping, Academy Award nominated epic full of breathtaking landscapes and bloody battles that follows the Mongol warrior as he escapes the shackles of bondage, finds love and rises to become the general who would create history's most powerful empire.
"...breathtaking landscapes, dazzling cinematography, bloody battles and unique traditions. Alissa Simon, Variety
"Mongol is quality escapism: an exotic saga that compels, moves and envelops us with its grand and captivating story. Claudia Puig, USA Today
"Quite grand, quite exotic, David Lean-style epic. Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
"Mongol is great cinema, great fun. Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
Subtitled "The Untold Story of the Rise of Genghis Khan," director Sergei Bodrov's sweeping MONGOL focuses on battles physical and emotional as it follows the early ascent of the "Great King" in the 12th and 13th centuries. Born Temudgin to a kingly father, the film introduces the nine-year-old Temudgin (Odnyam Odsuren) making his first fateful decision: going against his father's wishes and choosing the lesser-born Borte as his future wife. When his father is poisoned, Temudgin flees from his father's rivals. Temudgin is saved by a young prince, Jamukha, and the two become blood brothers. That bond of friendship is tested, though, when the grown Temudgin (Tadanobu Asano) wages war--against the Mongol code--to win back the captive Borte. As Temudgin asserts his own power, he must also face Jamukha in all-out battle if he is to secure the safety of his family and his own kingly destiny. Gorgeously shot on location in Kazakhstan and Inner Mongolia, MONGOL represents the first in a proposed trilogy of films that will chronicle the full impact of Genghis Khan's reign. As ambitious in scope as its subject was in life, MONGOL--a 2008 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film--offers a unique look at the influence of love and loyalty to the life and times of one of history's most enigmatic rulers.
Cast & Crew
||Mongol, Nominee, Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Sight and Sound
"[With] retina-scorching widescreen images. Cinematographers Sergey Trofimov and Rogier Stoffers are constantly attuned to the seasonally changing colours and textures of the central Asian landscape."
"Russian filmmaker Sergei Bodrov contrasts images of sweeping landscape and propulsive battle with potent scenes of emotional intimacy..." -- Grade: B
Los Angeles Times
"Full of stunning views of China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan and showing an unexpected side of Genghis Khan, MONGOL feels like an old-fashioned epic."
New York Times
"[A] big, ponderous epic, its beautifully composed landscape shots punctuated by thundering hooves and bloody, slow-motion battle sequences."
3.5 stars out of 4 -- "MONGOL is a sweeping and quasi-mythical epic that recalls LAWRENCE OF ARABIA....It combines a sprawling adventure saga with romance, family drama and riveting action sequences.
4 stars out of 5 -- "[Bodrov] benefits immeasurably from his leading man's performance, with Japanese actor Asano Tadanobu bringing a confidence and quietude to the part, which in turn adds gravitas to his epic journey."
4 stars out of 5 -- "There's a lot of action, intrigue and local colour....Director Sergei Bodrov also shows the despot's sensitive nature..."
Reel.com 10 of 10
While American filmmakers flog the CGI action to drunken extremes (300, Beowulf), Russian director Sergei Bodrov spits at shortcuts (although he still digs CGI) and recalls the great movie spectacles of the old school, invoking the invigorating spirits of Abel Gance, Sergei Bondarchuk, and Samuel Bronston, in his rousing, grand, and old-fashioned epic Mongol...The first film in a trilogy, Mongol charts the course of the young nine-year-old Temudjin, beginning in 1172 on the barren and unforgiving Mongolian steppes, and his ensuing trials and tribulations after his father's murder until 1206, when the adult Temudjin (the great Tadanobu Asano) becomes the legendary Genghis Khan, uniter of the Mongolian tribes, and soon to be conqueror of the world, all set to an incredibly rich musical score by Tuomas Kantelinen...Based upon an ancient Mongolian epic poem written after the death of Khan, the film takes a favorable look at Genghis Khan and treats him, not as a bloodthirsty monster, but as an astute and able political and military leader and a man with love and devotion to his wife and child. There is no wrath in this Khan...Mongol is a less film narrative than a hagiographic film diorama. But Mongol is presented with such vitality, passion, and intensity that as an object of cinematic contemplation it cuts across critical prevarications like a head-lopping saber.
- Paul Brenner
Chicago Sun-Times 9 of 10
Sergei Bodrov's "Mongol" is a ferocious film, blood-soaked, pausing occasionally for passionate romance and more frequently for torture. As a visual spectacle, it is all but overwhelming, putting to shame some of the recent historical epics from Hollywood. If it has a flaw, and it does, it is expressed succinctly by the wife of its hero: "All Mongols do is kill and steal"...She must have seen the movie. That's about all they do in "Mongol." They do not sing, dance, chant, hold summit meetings, have courts, hunt, or (with one exception) even cook and eat. They have no culture, except for a series of sayings: "A Mongol does, or does not ..." a long list of things, although many a Mongol seems never to have been issued the list, and does (or does not) do them, anyway...As a result, the film consists of one bloody scene of carnage after another, illustrated by hordes of warriors eviscerating one another while bright patches of blood burst upon the screen. At the center of the killing is invariably the khan, or leader, named Temudgin (Tadanobu Asano), who is not yet Genghis Khan, but be patient: This film is the first of a trilogy...The nuances of an ancient and ingeniously developed culture are passed over, and it cannot be denied that "Mongol" is relentlessly entertaining as an action picture.
- Roger Ebert