Like to eat meat, kill your enemies, and plan total world domination. If so, then you and your new-found friend Ghengis Khan will get along just fine. Unless you decide to kidnap his wife, turns out he sort of takes offense to that.
Instead of giving us a complete retrospective on the great ruler, director Sergei Bodrov gives us a never before seen look at his early life. In the film we see a kinder more gentle Khan, you know before he got all “badass” and conquered half the known world. From loosing his father and having to choose a wife by the age of ten, to becoming a slave hunted by his own former bodyguards, and then onto battling his own brother for control of the land, its clearly evident that Genghis had some serious emotional issues to work out. Tadanobu Asano has the title role as Khan and plays it with such eerie calmness that you have no doubt he’s plotting something huge the whole film. Also special nods to Tegen Ao who plays Charkhu, Khan’s brother. The dialogue that is spoken without words between these two is remarkable.
As far as Epic storytelling goes, this is one film that does a terrific job of leaving you wanting more. The battle scenes are top notch with violence and gore a plenty, not to mention stunning cinematography work that would make even Micheal Bay extremely jealous. The one thing that is slightly bothering about the movie is the way certain situations are explained away through the use of black out shots. It’s clear what Bodrov was going for, but it comes across as a little to skeptical from the audience point of view. For instance, if somebody falls through a frozen lake of ice, it might be helpful if we saw how they got out, instead of just flashing forward to when that person is laying on a snow drift.
Not being up to date on all my Genghis Khan fact checking, I honestly can’t say if the film is historically accurate or not. However, I do get the sneaky suspicion that’s something you might not want to go do before you see this movie. Accuracy aside, Mongol is highly enjoyable as both an epic adventure, and an intimate look into the life of one of the most feared man to ever lead an army.