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Probably the foremost reason why most people are disappointed with this movie is because it's a Martin Scorsese movie, without anything about it that screams out Martin Scorsese. It probably was simply a subject he had a real interest and love for, which blinded him it seems. Sure, it focuses on its main subject but everything surrounding it gets completely ignored it seemed, which made this movie mostly a disappointing watch.

Don't go watch this movie expecting to learn everything about Tibet, Buddhism or the Dalai Lama. Seriously, after watching this movie I don't feel like I have learned anything. It doesn't explain anything about the religion and rituals, or tells you what the Dalai Lama is all about and what he stands for. It actually made this a very shallow movie experience, which I never could feel involved with. The only way I could see this movie being interesting, is if you are already into the subject and have some basic knowledge about it.

For a movie with a subject such as this one has, it's surprisingly lacking depth. You would expect the movie to be filled with ancient wisdoms concerning spirituality, knowledge and peace. Absolutely none of that present in this movie. It simply follows its main subject around and that's it really. Evertyhing that happens around him and every story aspects that potentially could had been interesting gets handled poorly and all remains very underdeveloped.

Another thing that felt wrong about this movie was its acting. The movie uses non-professionals of Tibetan descent, forced to speak English. If first of all feels wrong to hear them all speak English but next to that, the acting itself from most of the actors is far from anything too impressive.

No, it's not like I hated this movie. After all, it remains perfectly watchable but it never got interesting or involving enough in any way. What saves it is that it's still a technically well made movie, that is great looking as well. Most people will praise the cinematographer or director for this but in some cases, such as this one, you should simply give most credit the natural environments. I mean, I don't think it was possible for the film-makers to let this movie look ugly, even if they tried really hard to do so.

Too distant and shallow to call this a great or recommendable movie.

6/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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