It has taken me 25 years to see this movie, It’s hard to dispute Daniel Day Lewis being one of the worlds best actors, when ever people talk about some of his great performances they refer to this film quite a lot, I had high expectations, unfortunately they were not met.
Apocalypto was made many years later but I found myself thinking how much better that movie was than this, the tribes / gangs did not seem evil enough for me, I was never really in fear or in awe of them throughout.
It feels like a movie that was designed to win awards, you have a recipe that includes war,romance and death all wrapped up with a powerful music score, I did not buy into the film at all, maybe it’s a timing issue and if I had watched it on its release I would have a different opinion.
I am surprised Kevin Costner did not end up in this film, it’s his type of film, very long and trying to be thought-provoking.
It has to be said that I am not a big Michael Mann fan, when I look through his body of work I find his style of films very long-winded.
Facts about the film –
The film was originally scheduled for a Summer 1992 release, as the teaser posters said, but when Michael Mann‘s first version clocked in at three hours, he was told by Fox to cut the film down and the release was postponed to September. Mann was never happy with the resulting two hour version, feeling he had not had enough time to properly trim it, and so Fox allowed him to re-edit it entirely for the 1999 DVD release. Although only a few minutes longer, the new version features minor changes throughout the film. It is Mann’s preferred version and the only one available on DVD in the US.
By most accounts, there were on average at least 20 takes for each set-up. Such lengthy shootings (and the ensuing costs) would account for 20th Century Fox sending a Rep to do nothing except stand behind Mann and say, “That’s enough Michael, move on”.
In the original theatrical film, after Major Duncan Heyward (Steven Waddington) tells Hawkeye (‘Daniel Day-Lewis (I)’) that he will have him beaten from the fort, Hawkeye responds by saying, “Someday, I think you and I are going to have a serious disagreement.” The director’s cut however has no such line. Michael Mann removed it after deciding that it gave away too much before the two’s argument over who should be killed.