johnlink ranks THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS (1992)

This is part of my quest to see some of my favorite movies as I close in on 200 films watched for this project. I’d been wanting to rewatch this since seeing a silent version back in June. Also, I recently rediscovered the score, which had been playing in my CD player for the entire month of August. Nothing says “I’m cool” like driving down the road in my Jeep blaring the LAST OF THE MOHICANS soundtrack with the windows down.

I watched THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS (1992) on 9.23.10. It was, I would say, my fifth viewing of the film, and the first in at least three years. TRAILER HERE

So I have a theory about people who don’t like this movie. I think they all saw it in high school. I think the pan-and-scan VHS copy they watched from the back of the third row over the course of three History or English classes was not the viewing experience they hoped for. Because, hands down, when watched in its intended 2.35:1 ratio, with a good sound system, this is one of the most beautiful looking and beautiful sounding films I can think of.

But it’s more than an action piece or another acting showcase for Daniel Day-Lewis. Consider the ‘love scene’ between Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe. The cinematography in the shots leading up to it, at Fort William Henry, are busy, violent, and non-stop. Even the more calm interior shots are full of people, color, and eye-catching moving parts. Then Day-Lewis and Stowe retreat behind a building in order to make out. We see them, but everything surrounding them falls into blackness. This isn’t done cheaply or loudly. The setting is merely dark and only our leads can be seen. This is a visual representation of their emotional state. Crazy shit may be going on at the Fort, but for the two of them there is nothing but their togetherness.

It’s that sort of filmmaking that makes this not just a great film, but one of THE great films. The scene in which Stowe goes off on her father and her potential husband is one of my favorite all time ‘yeah you tell him!’ moments. It also leads to a great tragic moment when she and her father are unable to ever reconcile. This film is filled with those highs and lows. Even the characters who are the ‘villains’ or who make poor decisions do not do so in an evil vacuum, but are all motivated. Had this film been called ‘Magua’ and told from his perspective from the time of his family’s murder, he could very well be seen a hero.

There are scenes of pure action bliss. Basically any time Daniel Day-Lewis starts running, shit goes down. This combined with the stellar acting (his father, played by Russell Means, is a great understated performance) creates that rare event where the filmic quality and the entertainment value are both of the highest quality.

If you haven’t seen this, see it today. It’s an all time favorite of mine, and I could not recommend it more. Love this film!


FILM: 10; MOVIE: 9; ACTING: 9: WRITING: 8; BONUS: 2 (What is this?)

Two bonus points here. One for, in my opinion, the best film score of all time. The second, for the beautiful, amazing cinematography. As I said above, this is just a great film to both see and hear.


~ by johnlink00 on September 23, 2010.

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