Nomad wants to be an epic among the likes of Akira Kurosawa’s Ran, which interestingly enough it lifts a key bit of dialogue from, but its breath taking visuals can’t help a somewhat menial story. You’ve got all the pieces for an epic here; a historical backdrop, a melodramatic love triangle, excellent battle scenes, but unfortunately it lacks a compelling story. It doesn’t help that the characters can be a bit dry and hard to have any connection to.
Nomad follows the life of Mansur, a Kazakh warrior raised to lead his people to victory and combine the differing Kazakh tribes. We get the typical treatment of boy raised with best friend, both fall for the same woman and they come face to face in a battle to the death. Been there, done that and unfortunately that’s about half the story in the movies. One positive though are the scenes where the Kazakh’s fight off their enemies from Mongolia. They’re nicely lit, edited, and choreographed, and the placement of characters in the landscape allows for some stunning compositions. Then the beauty is canceled out by a dull voiceover that makes you wonder why he’s even in the story.
Some of the casting was a bit perplexing, the most mystifying of which is the casting of Jay Hernandez as Erali. Hernandez is a good actor, but he’s miscast here and serves as a distraction in every scene he’s in, and Mexican star Kuno Becker (of Goal! fame) doesn’t fare a whole lot better as Mansur. Mark Dascasos as a Mongolian didn’t really past muster either and it’s a shame because it makes you question why they’ve got Latinos posing as Kazakh’s and it takes away from any enjoyment of the film.
Even with all of my quips with it I still walked away somewhat pleased with the film. Weird I know, but maybe seeing the wonderful action scenes and breathtaking scenery dulled my senses to what was really going on. Either way, it’s not as bad as it might sound so give it a rent.