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Martin Scorsese's film about the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet is more travel film than drama, as the young Kundun (Tenzin Thuthob Tsarong) is prematurely enthroned as spiritual and political leader of Tibet, only to be exiled from his homeland by Chinese communists. Kundun is a beautiful movie, with its grand scenery captured by cinematographer Roger Deakins like a National Geographic photo spread, but it lacks the urgency and invention normally infused in Scorsese's vision. He and screenwriter Melissa Matthison approach their subject like interested outsiders, and the audience is kept at the same distance. That the central character is a Buddhist religious figure is no help, as he approaches conflict stoically and with little reaction -- hardly a dynamic presence. Kundun might have a been a great movie, but is merely good, and that's unfortunate. Music by Philip Glass. Presented in 2.35:1 widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1. Trailer, snap case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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