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.