I've tried to read the book of Last of the Mohicans at least twice and wasn't able to get past the period prose, so maybe it's time to try again. The movie is a pretty interesting look into a corner of the seemingly interminable French Indian War that preceded the Revolutionary War by more than a decade, and lays the groundwork for why colonists would have bucked a bit at the yolk of their British lords.
|he's running at you before you even start the movie|
Director Michael Mann is far better known for his stylish noir cop movies and TV shows like Miami Vice, Heat and Manhunter, but he applies his same eye for detail and what has often been visual oddity turned to wide shots and stills that echo American master painters (see: Hudson River School, including Cole's "Scene from the Last of the Mohicans") covering the pre-industrialized landscape. Mann got the difference between the controlled world of the British and their utter lack of understanding of the frontier itself, the settlers who'd chosen to carve out new lives in the unknown, and the lives of the natives they were so disrupting. Mann keeps all of that in play, and Daniel Day-Lewis's Hawkeye is an excellent counterbalance for all these forces as the unlikely white child raised by natives.
|now he's running over there...|
Mostly people remember Day-Lewis from this movie, and Madeline Stowe, but it's one of those movies where it never really feels like anyone misses a beat, including Wes Studi as the vengeance-driven Maqua. The actual two last Mohicans, played by Russell Means and Eric Schweig, carry their scenes despite the shift to sub-titles and having to perform against a script that heavily favors Hawkeye as the main character. And we all remember Alice pitching herself off the cliff and Duncan going up as crispy critters - and making you care enough about the characters that the deaths mean something.
It's not a flawless movie, and you can criticize it for the occasionally basking in its melodrama, but I still like it. It'd been way too long since I'd had a chance to see this one.
Also, I need to get myself one of those hammer/ axe things Chingachgook carries. That thing would definitely change the tone of my meetings at work.