Take a Drink: every time you imagine Daniel Day-Lewis’s method acting preparations for this one
Take a Drink: for tomahawks
Take a Drink: for conversations about freedom
Take a Drink: for ambushes and double crosses
Take a Drink: when Munro has… a change of heart
Do a Shot: for scalping
Do a Shot: for… sex? Was that sex?
By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
For some reason, I last watched Last of the Mohicans when I was 10 years old. I remember thinking it was awesome, though.
I also thought Howard Carter was awesome. I was an atypical child.
Last of the Mohicans is based on the James Fenimore Cooper novel in which an adopted Mohican man (Daniel Day-Lewis), his father (Russell Means), and brother Uncas (Eric Schweig) find themselves in the middle of the French and Indian War and responsible for the safety of a British commander’s two pretty young daughters (Madeleine Stowe and Jodhi May).
At first glance Last of the Mohicans must have seemed like a strange fit for Michael Mann. How would his gritty, muscular style translate to a lavishly produced period piece? Spectacularly, as it turns out. The production values are tip-top all around, beautifully costumed and boasting some truly impressive set design, particularly in the case of besieged Fort William Henry.
Who needs CGI? Just build that bitch.
DP Dante Spinotti delivers absolutely gorgeous visuals, playing deeply saturated greens and reds off eachother to spectacular effect. Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman also deliver in the music department, incorporating Dougie MacLean’s haunting Gaelic earworm “The Gael” into their score and as the main theme. Mann takes all of those ingredients and delivers a hell of a main dish, demonstrating his mastery of action filming no matter the scale or setting. There are so many standout scenes, but the roadside ambush by Magua’s Hurons is the standout, shot wide and static and unfolding like a museum diorama brought to brutal life.
Acting-wise, Daniel Day-Lewis is firmly in Christian Bale-style hunktacular action mode and Madeleine Stowe is… Madeleine Stowe. Thankfully, the supporting cast picks up the slack as Russell Means is resolute, badass, and tragic in turn and Wes Studi is straight chilling as the cold-blooded but purposeful Magua. Jodhi May might get the best acting moment in the film, though, as her final scene, played completely silent under the crescendoing strains of “The Gael” is incredible.
The romance is tacked on as all hell. It’s soapy, poorly developed mush just like yo momma’s under the bed books.
How do they make those covers so slippery?
Thankfully, that doesn’t waste too much time . To be honest, this is more Hollywood blockbuster then prestige piece, and the characters are thinner and larger than life as a result.
As an action film, though, Last of the Mohicans is about as good as it gets. It hits all the right beats, Michael Mann directs the hell out of it, and it takes you a place seldom portrayed on film. Now, good luck getting that song out of your head.