Kundun - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Kundun Reviews

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May 11, 2017
Kundun is about as straightforward a film as you can imagine. It recounts the history of the Dalai Lama from toddler to adulthood. It?s almost like watching a history lesson, but not one with action or big moments, more like literally watching someone lecture in a history class. The problem is most of the events happen off-camera and are relayed through advisers and confidants. I thought seeing how this child grows up with all these expectations was interesting, and the young actors were all great. The movie fully embraces the Buddhist belief that this child is Kundun reincarnated, because they have more than a few moments where he proves it. I thought it would have been more interesting if they had sown doubt into the audience, so that we were questioning whether he was actually suited to his position of leadership, but they went the other way. Therefore, when there is a scene where we see the Dalai Lama questioning whether he?s fit for the position, it feels false or hollow because I?ve been so completely assured he is this person. The history lesson is useful, even if it is drawn out and not all that exciting in the way it was portrayed. I definitely appreciated what the film was trying to do, and it made me instantly go to the internet in order to do more research on the Dalai Lama, but it is not something I?ll watch again.
April 9, 2017
Kundun is a very interesting and informative movie about the fourteenth Dalai Lama. This movie does a great job of taking us through the early days in the life of Kundun, the God king of Tibet - before he was banished into India at the young age of twenty four. Martin Scorsese's does a great job of showing the struggles of the Dalai Lama against a communist China. I thought that the chanting and rituals of fortune-telling were depicted very well and showed how in Tibet, the people of the city submissively got down on their hands and knees to bow to Kundun as they awaited his blessing. It really showed how they looked to him as their savior, the movie really made me feel that he gave them a lot of the hope and peace that they were seeking. Even though in the film he came across more as just a normal man and not necessarily a God, it is apparent that he is a really special person. Kundun, who is believed to be a reincarnation of Buddha, actually shows that while growing up, he also was subject to learning more as the teachers corrected and educated him. He is shown in the movie as a quiet, humble and gentle man who loves unconditionally. This film relates to world religion by giving a detailed view to those curious about Tibetan Buddhism. It is very enlightening and gives a breakdown of the Chinese invasion and the thoughts of the Dalai Lama. This movie helped relate a lot of the reading that I have studied about Buddhism over the past few months and is a memorable film. Overall I think that this movie did a great job of showing how Dalai Lamas are selected, the life and journey of Kundun and his time in Tibet before it was harshly taken over by China.
January 20, 2017
Kundun is about the thirteenth Dali Lama and is directed by Martin Scorsese. While this is certainly not Scorsese best and can feel on the long side with really not too much character development. It is still a interesting movie with a great score and amazing cinematography. This film shows that Scorsese can go out of his comfort zone and still make a good movie.
½ November 13, 2016
In Buddhism, a Dalai Lama which is the spiritual head of Buddhism in Tibet and the spiritual and temporal ruler of Tibet, is reincarnated into whatever bodies he chooses and is then put to a test to determine whether or not the person is the next Dalai Lama. The 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso, died in December 17, 1933. Four years later(in 1937), a young boy at the age of two years named Lhamo Dondrub was discovered with the taught that he would be the next reincarnation of the Buddha of compassion and was declared the 14th Dalai Lama. He was an average boy that was living in Tibet with his parents. As Tibetans believed that he might be the reincarnation of the Buddha of compassion, they made him leave his village Tibet which is located at the border of China and went to another place. They also called him "Kundun" which means the "ocean of wisdom". He was forced to leave his parents and being so young, he was scared but he managed until he grew up. The people that he stayed with were teaching more about the Buddhist because they all believed that he was the next Dalai Lama. The people that were taking care of him were also preparing for to becoming a leader. Tibet and China were starting to have issues with the government and he had to discuss the problem and find a solution because he was left to handle the issue by himself. Giving the power of a Buddha, he levered the concern with no one by his side and did not give up on his principles. He started to fast which was one way of Buddhist principle and avoid violence and the way to achieve enlightenment. Despite all the trouble that he had to encounter, he was successful and brought peace in the country.
½ October 28, 2016
The story of the Dalai Lama, how he was found and the challenges he has faced for Tibet. Interesting story but a pretty slow film.
October 7, 2016
The movie, Kundun, starts out in a small village in Tibet. Here lives a Buddhist family with three children that are going about their daily life with a very demanding toddler. They get visitors that are Buddhist monks traveling and looking for a particular child. One of the monks notices how the youngest son of the family reacts when he sees the beads he is wearing. When given the test for the Dalia Lama, he chose all the correct items and is seen as the 14th Dalia Lama. The boy is taken to live with the monks so he can be trained to lead the people of Tibet. He grows up there with the monks while China increases pressure for Tibet to become part of China. One day, China decides to invade Tibet and enforce their rule over the people. The Dalia Lama has no choice but to flee Tibet, heading to India, on a very dangerous trip. He is exiled from Tibet to this day in fear that if he returns to Tibet he will killed. I think that the movie moved a little slow, though that could also be in part to the Buddhist belief in peace and calmness. Though it was slow to progress, it gave a good look at the life of the 14Th Dalia Lama and his struggle to keep the indemnity of Tibet. There were some interesting scenes, such as the sand mandala creation, the ritual ceremony in which Kundun's father was hacked into pieces and fed to vultures, and the point when the man who found the Dalia Lama was found dead in his jail cell.

This movie reveals many of the key concepts of Buddhism. They make mention of the Four Noble Truths, the Buddhist belief that nothing is permanent, and the fact that in Buddhism, nobody is above being taught. Even though Kundun was seen as a spirit, he was still raised and taught by teachers. He wasn't all-knowing. Also, a ritual in the Buddhist religion that has particularly interested me this semester is that of sand mandalas. In Kundun, a giant sand mandala was constructed. When Kundun's father was chopped up, it was done as a sky burial, a common ritual. The movie relates to how the world religions are seen as holding progress of the world back. The Chinese leader thought that Buddhism was a plague on the people of Tibet and needed to be removed from the government of the country. The people of the world have become more intelligent and think that religion is outdated with no place in a modern society. As we become more advanced we have lost focus on the importance of the teachings that all religions have passed down through the generations. We now put our faith and trust in finding our own answers to the problems we face. The Chinese in the film were only concerned with expanding the empire and becoming the dominant country in the region. The Chinese leader felt that Buddhism was in the way of his conquest for power and the communist rule that he inspired.
September 5, 2016
Excellent fascinating blend history and of Tibetan culture. I especially love the sand ritual woven into the film.
½ August 27, 2016
Highly watchable and certainly not boring, even if on the long side. Feels like it was intended to be more of a political statement than it turns out to be.
February 9, 2016
In addition to being a powerful biographical coming-of-age story, "Kundun" brings to the screen an important Tibetan issue.
November 15, 2015
Kundun was a very inspiring movie. It showed the growing and teachings of the Dali lama from a child to an adult. They taught him the love and compassion he should have for the people, and how to act and think like a Buddhist leader. Even though he used his greatness to his advantage, in the end he came to a balance and became a great leader. He had to take the role of kundan, and later try to deal with china and having to flee to India. I think starting him off at a younger age and teaching him kind of got him prepared for what was to come. It showed the leader of a country through the eyes of a little boy even when he wasn't taking life that serious, which brought life to the movie. I think when he had to look at the lives of the people taking, and flea it brought sadness to the movie. I think this plays a big part of world religion and the Buddhist faith. To get a glance of what happens and the rising of an up and coming leader is a big deal. They train there leaders over time. They just don't do it over night. They train there leaders with compassion and love. They also train them with an iron fist. Buddhist are really picky about who they choose as leaders. The movie touched points in what I learn about Buddhist about how they view people and life. They are all about love and doing well into others. There karma and enlightment on each other places the biggest part on how they treat people. For the little boy to become a good leader he had to go through stuff and learn how to go through it with the training of others and his mother. Even the death of his father was a big learning experience for him
½ November 15, 2015
Kundun is a film by famed director Martin Scorsese about the life of the 14th Dalai Lama and the oppression of the Chinese on Tibet. The cinematography is visually captivating and the musical score is one of the best I have heard in a long. Although this movie was released in 1997 it is very relevant to today's political climate. The pace to me was very slow but not unbearably slow. I am a fan of action movies but thoroughly enjoyed this drama portrayal of the Dalai Lama. The acting was great and I felt connected to the characters. The young Lama was fun to watch and as he grew into a man we felt more engaged with his character. The Lama is subject to a great deal of ridicule by some people but deeply respected by his faithful followers. This is a great story that shows how strong a man's own faith can keep people in peace and control their own minds and souls. I can admit that I really didn't know this story and how he had to escape Tibet to India for safety but the movie brings the viewer into the room and atmosphere as he has to make the tough decision to leave his people of stay and die. Beautifully captures the sad story of Tibet losing its sovereignty. The movie has many references to Buddhist traditions like pacifism and living an ascetic life. In the movie we see where the Dalai Lama is taught about the Middle Way and the Noble Eightfold Path. We also see the Buddhist concept of reincarnation when the boy is very young and he is able to pick items the belonged to the former Lama indicating that it is him in a new human form. Overall this movie was well written and beautifully directed..
½ August 29, 2015
Ok, maybe I'm a bit cynical but I find it hard to take seriously the account of a man who believes he a reincarnated monarch.
This suffers from the typical biopic problems of having to fit too much in. The acting is strangely wooden in parts. Beautifully shot and scored though.
July 7, 2015
Despite its non-professional cast, Kundun is beautiful religious and spiritual masterpiece which refuses to compromise its artistic values. Kundun is about the life of the 14th Dalai Lama, the exiled political and spiritual leader of Tibet is a compelling journey and Martin Scorsese's most under-appreciated film.
July 2, 2015
Tem um eficaz trabalho de montagem e uma bela trilha sonora de Philip Glass, mas peca em certos momentos do roteiro e pelo elenco irregular.
May 2, 2015
The score. Phillip Glass's pounding score brings the movie together and turns it into a true epic.
April 9, 2015
A great arthouse film that shows that Martin Scorsese can make a movie out of his comfort zone and make it great as well. The movie is interesting throughout the whole 2 hours and the film is directed in such a beautiful way. I don't known if I'd ever watch the film again, but I'm glad I watched it. 8/10
April 8, 2015
At a running time of 2 hours and 15 minutes this literally felt like a four hour movie.
April 8, 2015
At a running time of 2 hours and 15 minutes this literally felt like a four hour movie.
April 1, 2015
Mesmerizing, the only problem I have is the use of English dialogue. The score will haunt you forever as will the images.
November 10, 2014
My movie review will be about the movie Kundun, directed by Martin Scorsese. Kundun is a movie about the early life of Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama. Throughout the entire film, the Dalai Lama was never referred to by his birth name, but instead referred to as either Kundun, or Dalai Lama. The film begins at Tenzin Gyatso's very early age. After the death of the 13th Dalai Lama, the monks of Tibet went in search of the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, the 14th Dalai Lama. Eventually, their search came to an end when the found a young buy near the border of China and Tibet. To make sure the young boy was the actual reincarnated Dalai Lama, he was put through a test. The test was to pick a few artifacts among others, and the artifacts that were to be chosen were those that belonged to the previous Dalai Lama's. Young Tenzin picked all of the correct artifacts, claiming they were his. Since then, his journey as head of the Tibetans began. He was taught the way of Buddhism and also the way of life of a Buddhist Monk. Halfway through the film, the problem between China and Tibet came to light, which to this very day continues. The issue is that China does not want to recognize Tibet as an independent nation, but instead claim it as a part of China. Although older, the Dalai Lama was still too young to deal with a situation such as that, however he was called upon to assume full political power after China's invasion of Tibet Eventually the Chinese invaded Tibet. The issue with the Chinese invading Tibet did not get any better, eventually the Dalai Lama was forced to escape into exile. To this very day, he has no returned to Tibet, but hopes to return one day. This film may not have been all too interesting in the very beginning, it shifts towards the middle and sheds light on the troublesome situation between the nations of Tibet and China, how things came to be, and Tibet is still fighting to claim their independence from China.
The Dalai Lama is a very important Buddhist monk in the country of Tibet and is seen as a very important religious leader all of the world. The film touches on quite a few Buddhist teachings. In the film you will see young Kundun being taught the basic teachings of Buddhism. For instance, young Kundun was being asked to recite the three jewels, which are the three things that Buddhists take refuge in, and look toward for guidance. "The daily observance of formally taking refuge in these "three jewels"-the Buddha, the dharma, and the sangha-is regarded by many as being the closest thing to a Buddhist "creed" and is regarded as the definitive act that makes someone a "Buddhist. (Brodd, pg. 180)" The Dalai Lama is a very important religious leader in the sense that he represents ass Buddhists, their teachings, and their way of life, and is seen in such a way because the Dalai Lama is believed to be the Buddha of Compassion. In the opening of the film, you see colorful art, which turns out to be sand, which is known as a mandala. "While mandalas are used in Hinduism, where they also function as cosmological diagrams used for meditation, some Buddhists utilize them in unique ways. (Brodd, pg. 189)." Although the Dalai Lama is not in his hoe country of Tibet, he continues to represent the nation of Tibet and its people and the prime example of compassion.

Works Cited
Brodd, Jeffrey, Layne Little, Bradley Nystrom, Robert Platzner, Richard Shek, and Erin Stiles.
"Buddhism." Invitation to World Religions. New York, NY: Oxford UP, 2013. 143-209. Print.
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