Monday, July 21, 2008

Costume epic "Mongol" tells story of young Ghengis Khan at Robinson Film Center

Ridged and reticulated silver ornaments, roughly wrought iron, embossed leather, red silk, indigo cotton, furs of enormous pile: the swashbuckling style and detail of the costumes is one of the most impressive elements of the movie Mongol, now showing at Robinson Film Center.

The 2-hour story, starring Japanese pop star Tadanobu Asano, is a journey of considerable sensuality: it is voiced entirely in Mongolian language, the camera lingers on amazing landscapes (it was shot in Kazakhstan and China), and the soundtrack is grand - yet I suppose viewers will either love or hate the guttural Mongolian throat singing.

Plotting is not the movie's strength. Temudjin, yet to earn the title the Great Khan, or Genghis Khan, endures numerous drubbings but always finds people ready to serve him. We're not sure how his magnetism works. There is a grand love story in which the Khan must face many compromises. Whether it is a credible part of the story you may take up on your own time.

You may also argue the quality of the slashing and stabbing in the several battle scenes. For me, it was a lesser part of the journey.

The inscrutability of East Asia. The handsome beards of the Mongols.
Mongolian ponies at gallop. In the end, Mongol's appeal lies in the overall loveliness of a classic costume epic.

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