Critics Consensus

The sweeping Mongol mixes romance, family drama, and enough flesh-ripping battle scenes to make sense of Ghenghis Khan's legendary stature.



Total Count: 101


Audience Score

User Ratings: 22,785
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Movie Info

"Mongol" delves into the dramatic and harrowing early years of Genghis Khan, who was born as Temudgin in 1162. As it follows Temudgin from his perilous childhood to the battle that sealed his destiny, the film paints a multidimensional portrait of the future conqueror, revealing him not as the evil brute of hoary stereotype, but as an inspiring, fearless and visionary leader. "Mongol" shows us the making of an extraordinary man, and the foundation on which so much of his greatness rested: his relationship with his wife, Borte, his lifelong love and most trusted advisor.


Honglei Sun
as Jamukha
as Oelun
Ba Sen
as Esugei
Amarbold Yuvinbayar
as Young Jamukha
Ba Yin
as Merchant with Golden Ring
Odnyam Odsuren
as Young Temudgin
He Qi
as Dai Sechen
Bu Ren
as Taichar
Ji Ri Mu Tu
as Boorchu
You Er
as Sorgan Shira
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Critic Reviews for Mongol

All Critics (101) | Top Critics (35) | Fresh (87) | Rotten (14)

  • When we think of the fearsome Genghis Khan, we don't picture him as ever having been a little boy. But he must have been, and that is where this grand throwback to the sweeping historical epics of yesteryear takes up the Great Khan's story.

    Jul 11, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Genghis Khan's lost decade fuels a handsome fantasy.

    Jul 10, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Mongol has just enough characterization to sustain its own reason for being -- cinematic fullness.

    Jun 29, 2008 | Full Review…
  • A thoroughly rousing hunk of celluloid, a war saga that blends the sturdiest conventions of old-fashioned heroic storytelling with a few pixilated battle enhancements - check out the soaring blood globs - of the kind that spattered across 300.

    Jun 27, 2008 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The battle sequences are tremendous, and the performances are captivating, making for the sort of rousing, giant-scale entertainment that a figure as towering as Genghis Khan deserves.

    Jun 27, 2008 | Rating: 3/4
  • Mongol, from its thrilling battles to its intimate romance, has the look, scale, story and feel of an old-fashioned epic in the best and biggest sense of the word.

    Jun 26, 2008 | Rating: 5/5

Audience Reviews for Mongol

  • May 08, 2014
    This is very nice to look at, if you don't mind heaps of violence-packed battle scenes.
    Juli R Super Reviewer
  • Aug 31, 2012
    Outstanding semi-historical film directed by Sergei Bodrov who conceived the story together with Arif Aliev. And what a job they did! The premise of it was to depict a portrait of the early life of Temüjin; not as an evil war-mongering brute, but rather an inspiring visionary leader. Director Bodrov noted that "Russians lived under Mongolian rule for around 200 years" and that "Genghis Khan was portrayed as a monster". Bodrov read a book by Russian historian Lev Gumilev entitled The Legend of the Black Arrow and he was surprised to learn about a more disciplined view of the Mongol leader which influenced Bodrov to create a film project about the warrior. The story of the early life of Temüjin, who later came to be known as Genghis Khan was so captivating that I guarantee you it'll keep you glued to your seat with eyes wide open. I wish I had a chance to see more movies with such great actors like Tadanobu Asano, Sun Honglei and Khulan Chuluun! This is the first movie in a trilogy based on Genghis Khans rule over the Mongol Empire. It was obvious that the "big guns" were behind making it - actually it was an intergovernmental co-production between companies in Germany, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia. Most of the movie, though, was filmed in Inner Mongolia (the Mongol autonomous region in China), and in Kazakhstan. That is why this movie was nominated for the 2007 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film as a submission from Kazakhstan. Everything about this movie is exceptional - from the cinematography, screenplay, directing, acting, camera work, editing, music... and about the last one - Tuomas Kantelinen composed something which can be proudly presented as a top music. I am already searching everywhere for the 2010 The Great Khan - second movie from the trilogy!
    Panta O Super Reviewer
  • May 24, 2012
    As I watched the great Mongolian horsemen of the 1200's as depicted in the film Mongol, I couldn't help but think that George RR Martin borrowed heavily from them in creating his Dothraki in Game of Thrones. Mongol tells a romanticized version of the early years of the boy who became the man to unite the great and ever warring tribes that roamed the steppes: Genghis Khan. We meet Genghis as a nine year old - being taken by his father a Khan (or tribal leader) to select a bride from a rival tribe in order to bring peace between their two tribes. On the way they stop and visit with a friendly tribe where young Genghis is enamored by a girl one year his senior. He asks his father if he may "practice" his choosing on the lesser tribes girls, and then befuddles his father by actually selecting one. Never a man to go against custom, the father gives his blessing to the union, knowing that it will anger the rival tribe. From there Genghis goes through several trials and tribulations as he grows to manhood as it is clear - being a Mongol isn't for the meek. I found their rituals and customs fascinating, almost more so than the story being presented; that of an undying love amongst all the strife. The film strives for a bit of grandeur yet it is when it focuses on the everyday that the film shows the most insight. Not that the grandeur isn't there - filmed on location in Mongolia you get taken in by the stark beauty of the endless frontier. The cinematography is truly beautiful and soulful as the film attempts to present its tale realistically - but unfortunately gets a bit too artsy- often resorting to slow motion camera work when depicting the million and one fight scenes. And yet there is a certain style and grace exhibited here as well, especially in the grand battle scenes where one cannot help but think of the book "the art of war". It's unfortunate that the film occasionally stumbles, as when Genghis is released from a small prison cell where he has been held for months, and jumps athletically down the escape route - man, I know I'd be stiff as hell being cooped up in a 5 foot square box. It is obvious here that the writer and director think very highly of their topic - but sadly fall into the usual biopic trap - calling Genghis Khan the greatest warrior and conqueror that ever lived... blah blah blah - the exact same thing came at the conclusion of Alexander; though I will say that Mongol has a much tighter narrative and is much more linear than that god awful film.
    paul s Super Reviewer
  • Dec 05, 2010
    <i>"Mongols need laws. I will make them obey... even if I have to kill half of them."</i><p> After reading many positive reviews of <i>Mongol</i>, and finding out it was nominated for an Oscar, I decided to give it a go. I was expecting quite a lot in fact. Truth is, I was disapointed after I finished it. This is far from bad, but I don't think it's a masterpiece as many have claimed it is. <u>SUMMARY:</u><p> In 12th Century Mongolia, 9-year-old Temudjin (Odnyam Odsuren) is being taken by his father, the leader, or Khan, of a clan, to marry a girl from the Merkit tribe but on the way he meets 10-year-old Borte (Bayartsetseg Erdenabat) and decides he wants to marry her instead when they're old enough. After his father is treacherously poisoned, the usurper Targutai (Amadu Mamadakov) takes control of the clan and vows to kill Temudjin when he comes of age. Temudjin (now played by Tadanobu Asano) grows up and claims his bride Borte (now played by Khulan Chuluun), but she is kidnapped by the Merkits soon afterwards and Temjudjin seeks the help of his blood brother Jamukha (Sun Honglei) to defeat them and to get her back. They are successful, but eventually, Jamukha betrays Temjudjin. <u>REVIEW:</u><p> <i>Mongol</i> tells the story of the great Genghis Khan, who is Temudgin. Not knowing much about this historical figure, I found so much of this story to be amazingly fascinating. It's a very intriguing story, which takes you to all sorts of places, and even teaches you about the culture of the Mongols. We learn about their god, fear of thunder, and customs. However, I was so convinced that all of the events of the film were actually true. This is based on a true story, and from time to time, the script felt very unconvincing. In terms of character, <i>Mongol</i> features many interesting characters, most notably, Temudgin himself. Comparing him to many of the other mongols of the film, he is much more honourable, and a likeable hero. His relationship with Borte wasn't convincing though, and the character of Borte herself was much too shallow. Another element that felt rushed was the bond between Temudgin and Jamukha - that wasn't convincing as well. If the screen-writers actually showed us, in depth, how these people developed bonds, the script would've been a lot more convincing, but with so many of these errors, it just doesn't feel like a true story. Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano is impeccable as Temudgin. He's brilliant with his role, and though he isn't Mongolian, he speaks the language really well. I didn't know he was Japanese until after - I actually thought he was Mongolian. Sun Honglei is terrific as Jamukha, but I absolutely hated Khulan Chuluun as Borte. She had nothing to make her performance good. There wasn't a single moment of the film where she actually acted convincingly, and that ruined the chemistry between her and Asano, which creates a very shaky love between Temudgin and Borte. Visually, <i>Mongol</i> is splendid. The beautiful locations are all perfect, and the cinematography is gorgeous. The costumes feel very authentic, as well as all the amazing props and sets. <i>Mongol</i> also features a number of spectacular battle scenes. Director Sergei Bodrov stages them excitingly, and they're all so entertaining, you can be sure of that. There's clever use of gore, and the final battle of the film is superbly epic. There are ups and downs with score. It features a number of traditional Mongolian songs which are great, but the modern style of music really turns it down. <i>Mongol</i> is epic and very fascinating - it's a more than competent spectacle of a great historical figure. It's just a shame that there are many elements that let it down. It could've been a lot better. But, the film is definitely worth seeing, without a doubt. <div style="width:490px;"><a href=""><img src="" border="0"/></a><div style="text-align:center;font-size:10px;">
    James H Super Reviewer

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