Classic Review – The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

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Title – The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

Director – Michael Mann (Collateral)

Cast – Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Wes Studi, Eric Schweig

Plot – Members of the dwindling Mohican Indian tribe including Nathaniel/Hawkeye (Day-Lewis) get caught up in the war between the British and French in the early American frontier and its in this war that the men come across the daughters of a British Colonel of whom they will protect no matter the cost.

“No matter how long it takes, no matter how far. I will find you!”

Review by Eddie on 08/07/2021

Remaking one of his personal favorite films from 1936, a film he grew up watching adoring as a child, The Last of the Mohicans is a different type of Michael Mann film that is more romanticized and straightforward than many of the films such as The Insider, Heat and Manhunter that made his career and its a film that remains a joy to watch these near 30 years on from its Oscar winning and commercially successful initial release.

A simple story, but an adventurous and action packed romantic drama all at once, Mohican’s packs a lot into its 100 minute running time (in a rare instance where a film should’ve been longer) as Mann and we as an audience follow Daniel Day-Lewis’s Nathaniel Poe/Hawkeye, an adopted Mohican Indian, and his dad/brother as they traverse a warring early American landscape where they must protect the Munro sisters including Madeline Stowe’s Cora of whom Hawkeye has fallen in love with.

Barely pausing for breath across its constantly moving narrative that allowed DOP Dante Spinotti to craft a collection of painting worthy imagery and composers Randy Edelman and Trevor Jones a chance to create one of the 90’s most beloved film scores, Mohicans is a rip-roaring experience and an experience we don’t often get with modern day baggage burdened affairs and there’s a simple but effective joy in witnessing Hawkeye and his offsiders go about their business, that often involves lots of gun powder and a fair portion of melee weapon beatdowns.

As per usual with a golden aged Day-Lewis performance, we get a fabulously entertaining performance from the leading man who prepared for his role by living in the wilderness for months living off the land and eschewing modern conveniences and in a career that is littered with weighty dramatic turns Day-Lewis is having more fun with Mohicans witty script than he usually allows himself to indulge himself in and the wise but snarky Hawkeye gives the now retired great one of his more memorable roles that might not be overly deep in retrospect but is worthy of acclaim nonetheless.

Throughout all of this as we follow Hawkeye and company across thick wilderness surrounds, under siege forts or cliff side locales is a director having the time of his life bringing his childhood memories and adult imagination to life and Mohican’s practical battles and big set pieces are all meticulously staged with the bonus of the film having one of the more memorable canoe chases committed to film, rounding out a package that has lost none of its charm since it initially dropped.

Final Say – 

There may be more acclaimed and important Western films but The Last of the Mohicans remains one of the most accessible and downright enjoyable. A different type of Michael Mann film and a leading man whose living and breathing his role ensure this well-liked adventure will continue to stand the test of time.

4 oversized hand-held weapons out of 5 

7 responses to “Classic Review – The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

  1. I’ve always been a big fan of Michael Mann ever since I was a pre-teen/teenager (namely stuff like Thief, Heat, and Collateral), but I’ve never seen The Last of the Mohicans. It’s really cool that Mann got to remake one of his favorite films when he was a kid, and it’s good that the movie still holds up.

    I still find it weird that Daniel Day Lewis is retired. Still, the man has left an impressive filmography, and I hope he’s enjoying his retirement.

  2. Michael Mann is one of my favorite directors and I enjoyed really much reading your review about this film. Last of the Mohican, as you said, is different by its epic narrative from his other films. But we can find in it the romance existing throughout his filmo and the story of a man alone. Most of the characters in Mann’s movies are like Hawkeye, in a melancholic quest of freedom, and the last of their kind. It’s really moving and beautiful.

      • I’m waiting for it too. Unlike most of people, I liked Hacker, I think it’s an accurate and relevant movie composed with the specific Mann’s touch. I liked his unlucky “luck” show too. Mann’s last years are not very successful but his talent remains impressive.

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