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PUBLISHED: 18:04 04 June 2008 | UPDATED: 17:10 16 August 2010

RUSSIAN director Sergei Bodrov traces the formative years of infamous Mongolian warlord Genghis Khan in this sumptuously shot, swooping epic.

FILM Mongol

CERT 15

RUSSIAN director Sergei Bodrov traces the formative years of infamous Mongolian warlord Genghis Khan in this sumptuously shot, swooping epic.

The story starts in 1192 during one of the many periods of imprisonment suffered by the young warrior Temudgin (Tadanobu Asano) and quickly flashes back 20 years to show him as a youngster (Odnyam Odsuren) with his father Esugei (Ba Sen), a tribal leader, on route to choose a bride from the ferocious Merkit clan. During the journey the two stop at a friendly clan for some rest and a feisty ten-year-old girl named Borte (Bayartsetseg Erdenebat) catches young Temudgin's eye. He quickly informs his father of his intention to marry Borte and while he knows that such a match would cause trouble with the Merkits Esugei respects his son's wishes.

The choice sets a series of events in motion that change Temudgin's destiny forever. On the way home his father is poisoned and the clan falls under the leadership of the spiteful, ambitious Targutai (Amadu Mamadakov) who is prevented by tribal custom from killing the boy until he is fully grown.

The youngster becomes an outcast and heads off alone to the barren, unforgiving steppes were he meets Jamukha (Amarbold Tuvinbayar) a tribal prince. The two quickly become friends and consolidate their bond with a pact of blood.

Temudgin is subsequently captured by Targutai several times but each time finds a way to escape. Once free for the final time he sets of to claim back Borte with the help of Jumukha but later makes an enemy of his friend and the two end up at war with one another.

By shooting on locations in Kazakhstan and Inner Mongolia Bodrov has captured the harsh climate and vastness of the Mongolian steppes beautifully and the production and costume design is nothing short of spectacular. The fast-paced, bone-crunching battle scenes are similarly on the money.

Mongol is a rare combination of fantastic story-telling and acting matched with superb cinematography, sets, costumes and music and offers a multi-layered portrait of one of the most intriguing figures in world history.

Mongol opens in cinemas tomorrow (June 6).

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