Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Film Review and Refection

As a half Persian myself, I insisted it was an essential element of my heritage to join the audience at a Marble Arch cinema, which was noticeably empty for a Friday night. Admittedly the film had been showing in the cinemas for just over 2 weeks, a lifetime in the cinema-going world.

The film opens with Dastan showing courage in a Persian street market and subsequently being adopted by the King. Fifteen years later, Dastan, and his foster brothers of true royal blood lead the Persian army in an attack on the sacred city of Alamut, under the false notion that the city’s people are selling weapons to their enemies (sound familiar?) During the fight, the city of Alamut is defeated and the mythical Dagger of Time is found. The dagger gives its holder the ability to turn back time for a short period so that past wrongs can be made right. The Persian’s celebration of victory is suddenly marred by sorrow at King Sharaman’s (Dastan’s beloved foster father) murder.  It is only in the release of the Sands of Time can Dastan prevent his father’s death and so the fight for ownership of time begins.

Personally, I did not venture through the popcorn-scented world with particularly high expectations. I did, however enjoy settling down at the start of the film to the traditional Iranian music that transported me back to my fragrant dreams of the Persia I once nurtured.

Although the film was not necessarily completely factual in terms of its depiction of Persian culture, it would have perhaps enhanced the audience’s experience if the geography was clearer. It may well have been through my ignorance of the Prince’s story but in my mind a simple subtitle detailing the location or indeed who was fighting whom would have enhanced the viewing experience and perhaps reduced the confusion I had, particularly at the beginning.

The landscapes were a little unreal and the action similarly unbelievable, having said this though, if you enjoyed Braveheart with the romance, occasional comedy and fight for good against evil;  you will equally enjoy Prince of Persia.

The film catches glimpses of Persian tradition and the story of Persians throughout the ages: “Everything changes in time, we should know that best of all”. Persians have a history of facing change and maintaining their cultural identity, a strength that is now such a strong part of the Persian psyche. It was heart-warming and each small open window into the heart of Persia and its Persians, opened the door wider to my past and once again made Iran my rose-tinted home.

For anyone who has loved their father as much as I or Dastan has, Prince of Persia will no doubt strike a heart-breaking chord. I couldn’t help but wish I had the Sands of Time to see my father again. Hearing the Persian language will always bring pain, hearing the words of my father and knowing regardless of how much I learn the language, I will never bring him back. I have slowly realised that I have searched in the wrong place for my father, I will not find him in the language tones of his country or even the boundaries of his country’s mountains, I only need to look in the mirror to find him occasionally there, standing before me.


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