Home > Uncategorized > ‘The Horde’ (‘Orda’) a new Russian historical(ish) action movie

‘The Horde’ (‘Orda’) a new Russian historical(ish) action movie

I haven’t yet had the chance to watch Орда (The Horde), a new big-budget Russian swords & stallions action movie, but the trailer and visuals do look impressive, reflecting the way Russian film-making has moved into the big league. Set in the 14thC, it has all the usual tropes, but has already begun to cause controversy about the way it reportedly depicts most of the Mongols as “brutal, bloodthirsty, evil-minded, greedy people.” The fact that it was part-funded by a company linked to the Russian Orthodox Church might have something to do with that… Still, action movies are rarely the place to find sensitively-drawn, politically-correct historical revisionism, so I’ll just look forward to seeing the film in due course and drawing my own conclusions. At least it does look well done (director Andrei Proshkin took the best director’s award at this summer’s Moscow Film Festival and one of his stars, Rosa Khairulina, best actress) and the scenes of the Mongol city Sarai Batu, while a tad caricature, do look impressive and offering great atmospheric vistas to illustrate scenes in a game… If anyone gets to see it (it came out in Russia this month), do post a comment and let us know what you thought!

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. June 23, 2013 at 12:48 pm | #1

    Quite an intriguing feature, although by no means as action-packed as one would expect by watching the poster and some trailers. Leaving aside any fact-checking on its historical accurateness, this is a film about how deflagratingly shocking the absence of God might be for people in 14th century Eurasia. Quite taxing on viewers, but sure-handedly helmed with no compromises through its 127 minutes of running time

  2. Michael Lo
    December 12, 2013 at 1:37 am | #2

    I stumbled upon it today on Netflix while eating lunch. I watched it for about a half-hour, but found it to be a waste of time and quit after 30 minutes. It’s evident that there’s some great acting and direction at work in this production, but it totally failed in the storytelling department. I think it’s a good thing for the screenwriters to be from the show, not tell school of film making, but more exposition would have helped. It seemed like Game of Thrones without enough back story. Maybe something got lost in translation since it is dubbed. I also couldn’t get past the obvious Caucasian features of the Khan’s mother, but since we are living in the age of extra-racial casting, it probably isn’t too egregious.

    I found the depiction of the Mongols to be totally misleading. As a history buff, I understand that the Mongols ruled the largest and most diverse empire in the history of the world for more than 200 years. However, I don’t think that feat was done by what this film depicts as the most boorishly brutal group of “hillbilly” Mongols this side of Urals. It’s as though the director had studied some isolated tribes in Mongolia and grafted his impressions onto his depiction of the Mongol ruling class. For all their ruthlessness, the Mongols of the Golden Horde were more worldly and diplomatic than the bunch depicted in this film. Some historians consider the Mongol Empire the first multinational corporation. If the movie Mongols had ruled Russia, I doubt that they would have been able to hold onto power for a decade instead of a few centuries. If the Russians had allowed themselves to be conquered by this sorry group, it doesn’t really make the Russians look to good either.

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