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Mongol
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Mongol – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

It’s the year 1172, when nine-year-old Emudgin (Odnyam Odsuren), Genghis Khan, rides with his father Esugei (Ba Sen), a tribal leader, or Khan, to make peace with the Merkis, from whom he kidnapped a warrior’s wife. During a resting stop, Emudgin meets 10-year-old Borte (Bayartsetsed Erdenebat), and chooses her to be his future wife.

Emudgin’s father is poisoned by the Merkis and thereafter a resentful tribe-warrior Targutai (Amadu Mamadokov) usurps power and strips Emudgin and his family of their possessions. Mongol’s tradition does not permit killing children so Targutai spares Emudgin’s life but promises to kill him when he is a grown-up man.

Emudgin becomes a fugitive and meets a cocky tribal prince, Jamukha (Amarbold Tuvshingbayar). The two boys become friends and blood-brothers.

But soon Emudgin is captured and enslaved by Targutai. He manages to escape and then be recaptured.
Grown up and strong, Emudgin (Asano Tadanobu) kills his guard, gets a horse and rides to his promised wife, Borte (Khulan Chuluum). They both ride to his family and get married. Soon Targutai finds them and kidnaps Borte.

Emudgin seeks help from his blood-brother, Jamukha (Hnglei Sun), who has become a powerful Khan, to rescue his wife. Jamukha reluctantly agrees and they together march to Merkis land and defeat them. Emudgin unites with Borte, who is now pregnant with a Merkis child.

Emudgin and Jamukha friendship does not last long after that victory. They become fierce enemies and wage bloody battles against each other.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

Mongol is an enthralling and thoroughly entertaining film with a compelling story, thrilling battle scenes, dazzling photography, breathtaking landscapes, handsome costumes, riveting performances and a lush music score.

The scene in the last battle, where Genghis Khan’s cavalry, faces masked and wielding a sword in each hand, charge across the fields towards Jamukha’s attacking forces and then collide with them in such speed and ferocity that rips their opponents to bloody pieces is probably one of the most thrilling battle scenes ever presented on film.

It’s not easy to find factual details about Genghis Khan’s childhood. In fact, Bodrov had to draw his information from poems and make up the missing pieces. Whatever the facts are, Bodrov has convincingly presented a Genghis Khan, not the savage monster of hoary stereotype, but as a loving husband, a caring father, a compassionate friend, a visionary leader and a genius commander. Charismatic Japanese actor, Asano Tadononbu, easily smoulders into this character and captures the inner fire that turned him from a slave into a legendry conqueror.

The film is also a fascinating journey into the life of the Mongols nomads, their culture and the tribal feuds that fractured ancient Mongolia. It was Genghis Khan’s vision and sword that ultimately united the Mongols and lead them to conquer half the world.

Mongol has won many awards and was nominated for the 2008 Oscars.

Opens Nationwide 6th, June, 2008

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