x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Nomad

That Nomad is retro is not the problem; that it is tedious is.

The Warrior... <i>Nomad</i>.
The Warrior... Nomad.


You know you're in a bit of a quandary when the most visible icon of your country is the fictional tele-journalist Borat. Cue the Kazakhstan-set, sword-and-sandal-cribbing films of the director Sergei Bodrov (here working with the Czech new wave alumnus Ivan Passer), which attempt to redress what Sacha Baron Cohen's broad comedy undid. Nomad, in particular, is intended as an epic of a nation, dashing through the rough outlines of Kazakhstan's history at breakneck speed. As Baz Luhrmann's Australia also recently proved, this sort of film rarely lives up to its bombastic billing. The mystic warrior Oraz (Jason Scott Lee) informs a sultan that his newborn son has been "chosen by the star" to topple the oppressive Jungar rule and unify the people. The boy is raised, along with youths from each of the other tribes, to become a mighty fighter capable of defeating their despotic leader, Galdan Ceren (Doskhan Zholzhaksynov). Granted a DVD release after the Oscar nomination and strong box office return for Bodrov's follow-up, Mongol, this 2005 feature aims for old-school spectacle in the mould of Akira Kurosawa's Ran. But Kurosawa's battle sequences are thrilling because of the human context that frames them. Here, the inept pacing means you'll lose all interest by the time the climactic battle to unite the tribes occurs. That Nomad is retro is not the problem; that it is tedious is.
afeshareki@thenational.ae