Not only is this film historically inaccurate, but it is also terribly
unlikely, childish and ridiculously stupid. It tells the story of an
uneducated English barber, who (with no knowledge of Persian, Arabic,
Hebrew, and more importantly, no knowledge of philosophy, mathematics,
medicine, etc. and perhaps a total illiterate), disguised as a Jew,
travels to Isfahan to seek medicine training from the greatest
physician of the world, Avicenna.
Up to this point, the movie is a total work of fiction (except that Avicenna was actually the greatest physician of the time and Isfahan was a center of civilization), and highly unlikely, but not quite stupid yet. The shameless stupidity starts when this young man (again, with no knowledge of Persian, Arabic, Hebrew, philosophy, mathematics, medicine, etc.) attends Avicenna's classes without any problem, and in few months(!) starts guiding Avicenna in treating different diseases! He even helps Avicenna to realize that plague is transmitted by rats! Seriously?! The greatest physician/philosopher (and a polymath) of the 11th century, whose books were taught at most European universities as late as 1650, does not know something in medicine (of course no shame), but an uneducated barbarian lad does discover confidently! Great!
More ridiculously, this lad (who has come from a time England was full of superstitions and religious dogma) is shown advising the great philosopher to grow up of his religious dogma(!) and dissect corpses for medical purposes! He even takes a 20th century "human rights activist" tone when saying this "let's dissect" advice to Avicenna! Were the creators of this movie high on something?! Perhaps they were, because they later show that this barbarian dissects a corpse, performs a colon surgery(!) on (and upon the order of) a drunk(!) Shah who goes to war with the Seljuks right after the surgery! And during these all great "scientific" discoveries that the barbarian does, the great Avicenna appears no more than an assistant! There is also a very "cheap" parallel love-sex story, as well as quite a few 21st-century(!) urban-Persian conversations going on in the background
The historical inaccuracy is not the main thing annoying me here: It is rather the stupidity and unlikeliness that annoys me the most. This movie is as ridiculously stupid as if it was telling a story in which Sir Isaac Newton has a Mongolian student who speaks with him in Mongolian, and shows him the true scientific method, helps him develop calculus and ultimately spreads Newton's science around the world, while escaping with his Jewish lover during the "Napoleonic" wars! Probably some Ali-Baba also appears during the "Napoleonic" wars too! Ah, yes, and Newton commits suicide when he realizes his library is flooded by the Vikings! (as in the movie Avicenna commits suicide, in more of a nihilistic 20th century gesture, when he realizes the Seljuks set his library on fire)
No, the historical true Avicenna did not commit suicide. He did not have any English students. He did not die in Isfahan, nor around the time that Isfahan was defeated by the Seljuks. Moreover, no one around that era was able to teach Avicenna how to do medicine. No one was able to perform a colon surgery during that time (still, even in 21st century, no patient is able to fight in a war right after a colon surgery), and finally, English was not among the spoken languages in 11th century Persia . If the creators of this movie really wanted to produce such a childish fairy-tail, why did they even bother themselves using the name (and abusing the reputation) of a real historical figure?! They could have introduced some bogus character in a fictional country that well matched their boring fairy-tail.
Besides the historical inaccuracy and childish unlikeliness, I do not see any artistic achievement in the movie either: just lavish production, resulting in an unnecessarily long/boring movie (that reveals nothing about Avicenna's youth/life/achievements), and flashy scenes, bad clichéd acting, depicting inaccurate architectures, clothing, races, faces, etc. Quite a blockbuster garbage that stupidly tries to tell us very unlikely lies about the history and life of (one of) the greatest physician of all time.
Action / Adventure / Drama / History
Action / Adventure / Drama / History
When nine-year-old Rob Cole felt the life force slipping from his mother's hand he could not foresee that this terrifying awareness of impending death was a gift that would lead him from the familiar life of 11th-century London to small villages throughout England and finally to the medical school at Ispahan. Though apprenticed to an itinerant barber surgeon, it is the dazzling surgery of a Jewish physician trained by the legendary Persian physician Avicenna that inspires him to accept his gift and to commit his life to healing by studying at Avicenna's school. Despite the ban on Christian students, Rob goes there, disguising himself as a Jew to gain admission. Gordon has written an adventurous and inspiring tale of a quest for medical knowledge pursued in a violent world full of superstition and prejudice.
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April 17, 2014 at 12:13 AM