THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS: DIRECTOR’S DEFINITIVE CUT
MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Director Michael Mann brings James Fenimore Coopers famous novel to the big screen. Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Hawkeye, an adopted son of the Mohicans who falls in love with the daughter of a British colonel during the French and Indian War. When his enemies attack the British, Hawkeye takes it upon himself to save the woman he loves and return to the frontier to save the innocent families from attack by the French and the Hurons.
WHAT I LIKED
“The Last of the Mohicans” came out following the unprecedented success of Kevin Costner’s “Dances with Wolves,” and a more understanding view of the Native Americans was all the rage at the time. Now, almost twenty years later, this film seems like a more level-headed approach to the conflicts on the historic American frontier.
There are several elements of this movie that really work well. The first is the cinematography, which was achieved against a pristine and almost untouched wilderness. The presentation of the film in high definition is great and captures the rugged majesty of the frontier. Regardless of character and storytelling, this is a beautiful film to watch again on Blu-ray.
The other aspect of filmmaking that really adds character and soul to this film is the soundtrack, which has a glorious tone to it. Even today, looking back on the film which I saw almost two decades ago, I remember the music most of all.
Finally, when “The Last of the Mohicans” delves into the action film genre, it has some pretty powerful moments. In particular, the battle sequences solidly put the viewer in the thick of the action.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Like many of Michael Mann’s films, I found certain elements to be brilliant and others to be rather flat. The story (which isn’t really his fault, aside from the ability to adapt a difficult source) is a little plodding. The characters aren’t fully formed, and the relationships and actions aren’t always clear.
This was Daniel Day-Lewis’ first film after winning the Oscar for his role in “My Left Foot,” and while much ado was made about his method acting, he really gives a mundane-yet-overacted performance in this film. I’m sure he was in the moment, but for the viewer, it just seemed that he was phoning things in.
The Blu-ray includes a new director’s cut of the film as well as a commentary by Mann. But the motherload of bonus material lays in the long-form documentary “Making of The Last of the Mohicans,” which examines the development of the film from script to final product.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Michael Mann fans.