An 11th-century English barber’s apprentice (Tom Payne) sets off for the Islamic East to study medicine under the learned healer Ibn Sina. To do this, he disguises himself as a Jew (self-circumcision scene a highlight). His dream is to bring a little light back to Dark Ages Merry Olde, a place that equated medicine with black magic.
In his quest, he effectively battles sandstorms, plagues, superstition, and superfluous romantic subplots, but meets his match in the film’s reductive stereotypes, general self-seriousness, and gaping plot holes. Ben Kingsley brings this up to watchable level—but only just. Japanese title: Sennen Ishi Monogatari: Perusha no Kanata e. (150 min)