This is turning out to be one of my most favourite romantic epics of all time. I know most people do not see this as romantic as it is a classic battle movie. As a matter of fact, seeing the trailer and the posters left me with the impression that this is indeed a war movie, what with the battle scenes and all; something along the lines of `Braveheart'. But upon seeing the movie, I was awed by the unexpected change in genre. The movie is a masterpiece, and all the actors and actresses certainly do amazing jobs. Daniel Day Lewis is simply amazing as Hawkeye. Though I usually try to read some of the more interesting books based on which movies are made, I haven't read the book in this case. But I sincerely doubt whether the book can be as good. Plus, I am told that the movie and the book have little in common.
Madeline Stowe is stunning as Cora Munro, and Jodhi May was certainly impressive as the frail dependent younger sister. Nathaniel, or Hawkeye', is the adopted son of Chingachgook, played by Russell Means, whose real and lone son Uncas contributes to the team's claim of being the last of the Mohican clan. The British recruitment of Militia from its colonies during a time of war against France brings about a certain unrest. And it is further deepened by the character of Magua, who is a Huron warrior bent on a personal vendetta against British Colonel Munro, and his family. Magua is bent on the utter destruction of Colonel Munro and his two daughters, hence wiping his seed from the earth'. Chingachgook and his two sons become entwined in between all this. To top that, Nathaniel falls in love with Cora and their love story takes the show from there. It is sensually and emotionally stimulating, and we as the audience feels engulfed in the mastery.
The love story I liked better was the one played in the background, an story that is absent, yet strongly felt throughout the movie. I am referring to the love story between Eric Schweig's character, Uncas and Alice Munro, played by Jodhi May. It is the subtleness and the overtone-nature of the love that builds in us a sense of involvement. To the best of my memory, they never spoke a word to each other, but the passion is strongly felt. And the climax really takes us to another level of appreciation.
Wes Studi is probably the fiercest villain I have seen on screen. His mere presence builds an acute level of intimidation. The character portrayal is flawless, and the casting done is excellent. I do not believe that anybody , anybody at all, could have replaced Wes in this movie. The fierceness, the anger, the viciousness, the the everything required to build up the character He has done all that. Probably his best performance yet.
The music is sort of unconventional. Usually, the pace of the music is in sync with the pace of the action on screen. But in this case, the same slow music floods the scenes whether the pace on-screen is fast or slow. If I had heard somebody else say that, I certainly would have thought that it would not be effective. But amazingly, this unconventional approach works. And how! The music is probably the most addictive feature about the movie. After the first time I saw it, the music lingered in my mind for a month. All my waking moments, my mind was echoing that brilliant piece of work. I am a very very huge fan of Hans Zimmer, but I doubt if even he could have done a better job.
I have seen the movie eight times to date. And I will definitely see it again. The climactic scene is so moving that I have lost count how many times I've seen that.