The Essentials- #8
The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
So many of you already understand that Daniel Day-Lewis has established himself as a phenomenal actor. Yet he is not always the go-to guy when projects arise. Day-Lewis is particular about the projects he chooses to act in. Because he is a method actor, he spends much time in research and preparation for each role. May sound crazy, but hey, when you've won an Oscar for just about every role you've ever created I suppose you wouldn't care how you appear.
One of Day-Lewis' early projects was "The Last of the Mohicans," and the film doesn't just work because of how incredible Day-Lewis is, (and yes, even in the earliest corners of Daniel Day-Lewis' career, he was incredible.) but story and characterization are top-notch as well. "The Last of the Mohicans" is a tense, bloody, yet elegant movie. Through the small, pockets of violence, there is a sincere romance that could make you weep. This is a movie I have grown up with, watching with my dad and brother on a near regular basis. It is something I hold to be very special in my heart, and I want to share that will all of you.
"The Last of the Mohicans" is based upon a novel by James Fenimore Cooper, but the movie is a loose adaptation. The film is set during the French and Indian War and revolves around three family members who are all from the near-lost Mohican Indian tribe. Nathaniel Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis), his brother Uncas (Eric Schweig) and father Chingachgook (Russell Means) meet up with a colonial friend who is planning enlisting in a British militia at Fort William Henry. Also in root to the fort are the daughters of Col. Munro (Maurice Roeves) whose names are Cora (Madeleine Stowe) and Alice (Jodhi May). Both the Mohicans and the daughters crossed paths after the daughter's escort is attacked by French-allied Indian tribe. The escort was led into the attack by the escort-leader-turned-traitor Magua (Wes Studi). Cora and Alice are rescued by the Mohicans, and the Mohicans decide to help Cora and Alice get to Fort William Henry.
The attack on the British escort is a brutal scene, and shows off some very realistic guerrilla warfare scenes. All the battle scenes in this movie feel very real, which is apart of the film's power. But ladies, don't fret. Cora and Hawkeye begin to fall in love with one another, and their romance story is very effective among the war and fight scenes. Day-Lewis and Stowe create such a strong love bond that you got to give both actors lots of credit. It isn't always easy to mesh romance with action, much less romance and war. But "The Last of the Mohicans" does so with ease.
Wes Studi as the villain Magua is a bad guy you will love to hate, and he is brought to astounding life by Studi. The audience will fall in love with both Chingachgook and Uncas, especially in the war scenes. Russell Means as Chingachgook will definitely have you all cheering. The film is filled with great performances brought to life by a wonderful cast of actors. And yes, Day-Lewis is great. It's interesting to see him play such a sincere, sensitive good guy.
As you can see, this movie has a lot to offer. I hope you enjoy checking it out!