Plot – In the early 1900s, three brothers and their father living in the remote wilderness of Montana are affected by betrayal, history, love, nature, and war.
Director – Edward Zwick
Releaded – 1994
Edward Zwick’s Legends of the Fall feels somewhat like a movie out of time, harking back to the epic historical dramas of the golden age of cinema, with its soft colour pallet, sweeping in scope, magnificent production values and complex romances, however, it came at a time when films such as this were no longer in fashion, only seeing a resurgence with the release of Gladiator and even then it was missing the romance elements.
Just as you would expect with a cast this talented, the acting, for the most part, is generally good. Hopkins especially was his usual high level of professionalism as the Colonel and patriarch of the Ludlow family, his skill at convincingly portraying a stroke survivor is particularly impressive. Pitt, on the other hand, was set up as something of a force of nature but proved to be little more than just a pretty face, with Quinn making a good contrast to Pitt, but since his character is set up to be inherently less interesting he, the film doesn’t tend to devote as much time to him. The third brother played by Thomas also makes a memorable performance. Ormond, meanwhile, was radiant as the female that causes the rift between the brothers and propels much of the main plotlines and while the men stood around acting stoic, she gave the film a lot of its heart.
As mentioned above, the visual presentation is probably the films biggest positive, there’s something about the use of film that gives the movie a warmth and when coupled up with the Oscar-winning cinematography of John Toll and Zwick’s eye for a good shot you get a beautiful and inviting production, with the stunning locations shown throughout feeling like a character in their own right.
While the movies slow pace and rather grandiose nature turn some viewers off, I can’t help but be charmed by Legends of the Fall, finding it a welcome throwback to a time when big-budget historical dramas were all the rage and even though this is unlikely to ever attain the same status as the greats of the 50s and 60s, Zwick has nevertheless managed to produce a well-crafted production with impressive visuals and entertaining storyline.