First Hit: I walked out of the theater thinking I would really like to know more about Genghis Khan because the story was so different from what I was taught.
This is an epic film with broad landscapes providing an incredible backdrop to the story of a boy who selects his bride at age 9 and ends up ruling a large part of the central Asian continent.
The film begins as the boy (Temudgin) and his father, who is Khan of his clan, are on their way to another clan of Mongols so that Temudgin can pick his bride.
This will be a political selection. On the way, they stop at a friend’s lower ranking clan and the boy is challenged by a young girl (Borte) to pick her for his bride. The father says no, but Temudgin convinces his father to let him practice picking a bride before they get to their destination.
His father agrees and during the practice, he makes his declaration and selects Borte to be his bride. He promises to come back in 5 years to take her away. Although disappointed, his father goes along with his willful son. On the way back home his father is killed.
One of his father’s primary confidants in his clan turns on the boy’s right to be the next Khan and deposes the Khan’s family while promising to kill him when he reaches a certain age and height. The rest of the film is about how he seeks to find his bride and do right by her and his deposed family. Along the way he is captured and tortured many times, but he always finds a way to break away.
Borte is a strong woman and demonstrates this time and time again by finding Temudgin and helping him escape. This film is about the power of their love for each other and how they always found a way to be together – again.
Directed by Sergei Bodrov, this film is nicely paced, packs some wonderful scenery in strategic spots and the battle scenes are well portrayed. My only criticism was the depiction of Jamukha, a friend and later, a rival Khan. His clean shaven face, hair style and moustache were out of place. Even the sharpest knife would have not made his smooth facial skin possible, let alone the hair style and perfectly trimmed moustache.
Overall: Very interesting film with some outstanding scenery shots, good acting, and a wonderful story.