Taking a cue from internet forums, a format somewhat different from this, we introduce the sticky: a page dedicated to discussion of films currently screening. We'll try to post them on opening day of each film and encourage readers to comment on these films: strengths/weaknesses, thoughts for the lover and the hater. In honor of this, we'll kick it off with MONGOL. Sure, we're a few weeks in on this film and it could still be around for a few more weeks, so it seems appropriate.
I have to say that, upon first viewing late last year, my initial impression of MONGOL was one of apprehensive excitement. I certainly found it watchable from beginning to end (remarkably so) though its biopic premise suggested something we've certainly seen before but with the added suggestion that it could only be a "Part One", a notion that has since been confirmed: MONGOL is conceived as a trilogy. There were a few holes in it (for example, how did those shackles really come off the first time around?), but that long opening shot through the castle, up and into our protaganist's cage, really brought me in far enough that such things would be overlooked. Just to kick this off, I'll throw out some review quotes:
"Mongol -- or, as I prefer to think of it, "Genghis Khan: The Early Years" -- is a big, ponderous epic, its beautifully composed landscape shots punctuated by thundering hooves and bloody, slow-motion battle sequences." - A.O. Scott, NY Times
"My only problem with Mongol is that--how often in life do you get to write this sentence?---Genghis Khan is a little too nice." - Dana Stevens, Slate.Com
MONGOL is a ferocious film, blood-soaked, pausing occasionally for pas"sionate romance and more frequently for torture. As a visual spectacle, it is all but overwhelming, putting to shame some of the recent historical epics from Hollywood." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times