Set in the mountainous frontier wilderness of the colony of New York in 1757, this charts the role played by Hawkeye (Day Lewis) in the complex war waged between the English and the French and their respective allies among both settlers and Indians. Adopted as a child by the Mohican Chingachgook (Means) after his white settler parents were killed, Hawkeye belongs to neither one culture nor the other. Similarly, he is both warrior and peacemaker; and it is this dichotomy which simultaneously alienates him from the English military and wins him the love of the colonel's daughter (Stowe). While few would deny the impressive spectacle Mann provides in some truly magnificent battle scenes, criticisms have been levelled at the way the film changes from a historically accurate account of the war into a full-blown love story. Indeed, it is best seen as an epic romantic adventure of a sort seldom executed with much intelligence these days. As such, Mann's characteristic mix of rousing, profoundly physical action, lyrical interludes, and strikingly stylish imagery, serves to create superior mainstream entertainment. (From the novel by James Fenimore Cooper.
Cast and crew
Michael Mann, Christopher Crowe
Madeleine Stowe Russell Means Eric Schweig Jodhi May Steven Waddington Wes Studi Maurice Roëves Patrice Chereau Daniel Day-Lewis
James Fenimore Cooper was the bane of genrations of American schoolkids forced to read his "Leatherstocking Tales" about Nathaniel (or "Natty") Bumppo, variously known as Hawkeye, Deerslayer and other descriptive titles. Cooper was satirised by Mark Twain for pitifully ignorant descriptions of what frontier life was really like, but that didn't stop Cooper's domination of American minds and hearts. This splashy and very noisy and violent film of one of the most effective of the tales rewrites the homoeroticism of Hawkeye and his adopted Mohican father and brother into a heterosexual and passionate relationship of Hawkeye and Cora, the daughter of the British officer trying to fight off a coalition of French and Indian forces (you can Google the book to see how much of the plot has been changed). While Daniel Day-Lewis is explicitly heroic and swashbuckling, the quieter performances of Russell Means and Eric Schweig as the last two Mohicans, Chingachgook and Uncas, are much more moving (and they don't keep talking about Ken-Tuck-EE as Day-Lewis annoyingly does). Love, lust, sacrifice, heroicism, evil and good are all on display here, with some over the top characters (particularly the vengeful Magua played by Wes Studi) under the stylish direction of Michael Mann. Sit down with popcorn, a lot of fizzy soda and enjoy an old-fashioned blockbuster.
I'm basically reviewing all of my favourite films today and I had forgotten all about LOTM. Daniel Day-L, you bloody hero! This film is ludicrous for many reasons, largely because of the casting of DDL as a Mohican, and the fact that the ladies are insanely attractively well put together even in distress. However, you won't be disappointed. The scenery is immense, the story line (if a bit ridic, is gripping) and overall it's just a winner of a film.