Mongol | Chicago Reader

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The first installment of a planned trilogy about Genghis Khan, this 2007 epic from Kazakhstan follows the Mongolian warrior from childhood, when his father is poisoned and leaves the family badly exposed to persecution from rivals, to young adulthood, when he unites the feuding tribes of the region. A dearth of reliable history forced writer-director Sergei Bodrov (Nomad) to draw much of the story from an ancient Chinese poem and fill in the rest himself, though he hasn't filled in quite enough as far as the characters are concerned. The hero, played by Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano, is a figure of monumental strength and resolve but little depth or nuance; the savage landscape of the steppes, beautifully shot by Rogier Stoffers and Sergei Trofimov, upstages him at every turn. R, 126 min.

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