Tuesday, April 16, 2013

From the Collection: The Last of the Mohicans 1992

I have to admit this was the first time I have seen The Last of the Mohicans.  Someone at work had loaned me the Blu-Ray and told me I had to watch it.  So after having it for a few weeks I finally got around to watching it.

The Last of the Mohicans is based on the book by James Fenimore Cooper.  It is a love story set during the French and Indian War.   The Mohican tribe has been almost completely wiped out and only three survive. The father Chingachgook, his son Uncas, and his adoptive son a white man Hawkeye (Daniel Day Lewis).  While tracking a war party they save an English Major and two women Cora (Madeleine Stowe) and Alice who are the daughters of Colonel  Munro.  When they get to Fort William Henry where their father is in command they find it under siege by the French.  They manage to sneak in and reunite the daughters with their father, but the fort is about to fall and Magua a member of the Huron tribe is out for revenge on Col. Munro and vows to kill him and his daughters.  During their travels Hawkeye and Cora have developed feelings for each other and he will protect her at all costs.

Despite what the trailers and tag lines say this movie is a love story.  It is set during a war and there are some cool battle scenes especially at the end but it is about the love of Hawkeye and Cora.  And while there is a lot to like about this movie the love story is what doesn't work for me.  I never really believed they fell in  love.  The whole thing seemed rushed.  Now there is another love story between Uncas and Alice and that story takes a back seat but it seems more interesting and real.  For some reason Daniel Day Lewis and Madeleine Stowe just didn't click.  In reading a little more about the movie I guess Michael Mann had wanted to make a 3 hour movie but was forced to cut it down to 2 by the studios.  I would be interested in knowing if part of the extra hour was more development of the relationship.

Now that we got that negative out of the way lets talk about the positives.  I absolutely loved the score.  The music perfectly captured the tone and essence of the movie.  Also, Mann's direction and shots.  The scenes all look good and captures the feel of a mystical world.

Back to the negative.  While Mann's shots looked good some of the action scenes just didn't work for me.  Especially some of the ones towards the beginning.  Maybe this has to do with a post Braveheart viewing of this movie.  It could be that Braveheart has just led me to expect all movies to have bloody battle scenes.  But this movie came out a few years prior to Braveheart and having seen other Michael Mann movies it seems that he has a different way of directing action sequences that just doesn't work for me.

Lets talk about Daniel Day Lewis for a minute.  The first actor to win 3 Best Acting Academy Awards and this was his first movie after his win for My Left Foot.  And known for going to extreme lengths to get into character he lived for months out in the wilderness learning to fish and hunt.  Unfortunately this is not his best performance.

3 out of 5.
Lots I liked and lots I didn't like.  Not one of Day Lewis' finest performances but the movies does look good and has a great score


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