Sunday, November 2, 2008

Force of Nature

Nominated for 2007's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar but only released stateside this year, "Mongol," a sweeping and stirring account of Genghis Kahn's rise to power, is a thing of beauty. The picturesque multi-regional cinematography by Rogier Stoffers ("Quills") and Sergei Trofimov ("Night Watch," "Day Watch") rivals anything to be seen in '07 or '08.

The old-fashioned epic is also a thing of ferocity, depicting the warlord's formative years from fierce youth to steadfast conqueror, bleeding and suffering along the way. If Russian writer/director Sergei Bodrov and co-writer Arif Aliyev have presented this historic tale accurately, Genghis (formerly known simply as Temujin) endured years of immense hardships before becoming the conqueror that history remembers. Slavery, torture, loss, humiliation, and near-death all befall him -- a lesser man would have surely given up or, more likely, died.

Had Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano, who plays Temujin with a growling physicality, given less of a one-note performance and become more of a force of nature like the film itself, "Mongol" would have been a thing of perfection.

No comments: