January 10, 2014 at 1:00 am

Tom Long

Review: Indian epic 'Mountains of the Moon' quickly proves exhausting

Dev Adhikari plays as an adventurer in 'Mountains of the Moon.' (Shree Ve)

There’s a schoolboy charm to “Mountains of the Moon” that wears off rather quickly as the film goes on and on and on and on.

This Indian film shot primarily in South Africa follows Shankar (Dev Adhikari), a young man who leaves his homeland in search of adventure. He takes up residence at a remote African train station, greeting the one train that comes by daily, and then the film becomes something like a series of matinee shorts from the ’30s tied together into a seemingly endless narrative.

There’s Shankar and the lion. Then Shankar and the snake in his bed. Shankar and his friend who got eaten. Shankar and the man he rescues.

That man, Diego Alvarez (Gerard Rudolf), turns out to be an adventurer as well, so they set out to find a mysterious mountain that holds countless diamonds. This leads to Shankar in the desert, Shankar in the cave, Shankar and the volcano, and — most ridiculously — Shankar and the rubbery-looking monster.

Again, there’s a sort of dewy innocence to it all when things start out, even though it’s hard to tell if director and co-writer Kamaleswar Mukherjee is going for comic effect in the beginning (this guy loves slo-mo shots of things jumping).

As things progress, though, it becomes apparent the movie is actually striving for Indiana Jones-type thrills. Wooden dialogue does not help it along in this quest, although the many misspellings in the film’s subtitles do liven things up, even if the film’s patchwork use of Bengali, Swahili, Portuguese and English make them somewhat inevitable.

Add in special effects straight from 1953 and you have an adventure epic that may well thrill Indian audiences, but will have Americans racing out to grab the latest “Iron Man” DVD.

'Mountains of the Moon'

GRADE: D

Not rated

Running time: 148 minutes

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