By-the-book mythmaking: stately, straightforward and not too interesting. The story . . . falls flat on film, a moody, visual medium, tremendously difficult to rework into a mirror for introspective, spiritual transformation.
Viewers with a pre-established interest in 11th-century Tibetan history should find Milarepa fascinating, but those without won't find much to engage them in this nicely shot but stilted biopic of a legendary magician-turned-monk from that era.
The first of a two-part film about the life of an 11th-century Tibetan mystic, Milarepa evokes a time when sorcery was a poor man's way of making war, and the sight of yogis flying through the sky was commonplace.
Those expecting a reflective Buddhist piece will be surprised. First-time director Neten Chokling's film actually is a powerful revenge drama. Despite the film's low budget, there's also spectacle, courtesy of the Himalayan locations.
The legend of Milarepa -- an exiled heir who sought revenge before finding dharma -- engages on a narrative level; however, Chokling's direction fails to give the story any period texture or visceral emotion.