Image provided by bigfooty.com, trailer courtesy of youtube.com
Based on the book by James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans displays a love story in the midst of The French and Indian War. Director Michael Mann, known for his success in “Collateral” and “Heat,” attempts to keep the film as authentic as possible by using period props and providing period wilderness skills.
Although considered slightly “Hollywoodized” in many of the scenes; an example is the difference in shooting accuracy between both the good and the bad characters, it does depict the time period accurately. Many viewers also criticize the love story between Daniel Day-Lewis’ character, Hawkeye, and Madeline Stowes’ character, Cora.
Calling it a cliché, especially with the over-the-top passionate kissing scene, the love story is very predictable and you can get an idea as to how this infatuation between a native and an English woman will affect the plot. Apart from those sloppy characteristics, the film does draw many emotions. Just watch it and you will understand what I’m talking about.
As stated above, Last of the Mohicans is set during the bloody French and Indian War. The young Mohican-raised character, (although of white ancestry) Hawkeye, played by Daniel Day-Lewis (from “Gangs of New York” and “There Will Be Blood,”) helps stop a Huron ambush against English troops.
Assisted by his adoptive father, Chicachgook, and his step-brother, Uncas; Hawkeye stumbles upon the daughters of a high-ranking English officer, Cora Munro (played by “Twelve Monkeys” actress, Madeline Stowe), her sister, Alice (played by Jodhi May of “Defiance”), and English officer, Major Duncan Heyward (“Sleepy Hollows” Steve Waddington). The three survivors are forced to trust these mysterious Mohican natives to get them to the nearby English fort, William-Henry.
On the two-day excursion, Cora and Hawkeye begin to develop feelings for each other. Upon their arrival to the fort, Major Heyward begins to notice the said infatuation and, out of jealously, falsely accuses Hawkeye of sedition; therefore sentencing him to death. After an epic battle scene between the French and English, Hawkeye manages to escape the brig and protect Cora. When the English are defeated, William-Henry is forced to surrender to the superior French army.
While marching back to Albany, Colonel Munro’s army is ambushed by the aggressive Huron tribe. Under the command of Magua, (played by Native-American actor Wes Studi), the Huron’s decimate the British forces in an epic and gory scene.
Hawkeye and his band of Mohicans manage to save Cora and her sister from Huron mutilation, and in a heart-pounding game of cat and mouse between the Huron’s and the Mohicans, they are finally captured. The ending, in my opinion the most epic part of the film, is for you to watch.
This film not only contains a true sense of authenticity, but it also won an Academy Award for best sound and was nominated for 5 others. More importantly, for soundtrack fans, this movie will blow you away. Composed by Trevor Jones & Randy Edelman, the soundtrack really compliments the highly artistic and carefully choreographed scenes.
The one scene that demonstrates this perfect balance of imagery and sound is the final scene. The sheer adrenaline rush that results only proves the exceptional quality of this film and everything/everyone involved in making it.