Daniel Day Lewis is one of the best actors of his generation. A versatile, powerful actor, he disappears into his roles, making the audience forget that what they are seeing is fiction. But isn’t that the mark of any good actor?
Two of his best performances were in the 1990’s: The Crucible (1996) and The Last Of The Mohicans (1992).
Based on the classic Broadway play by Arthur Miller, The Crucible, based in Salem, Massachusetts, set during the infamous Salem Witch trials. John Proctor (Daniel Day Lewis) has foolishly had an affair with Abigail Williams (Winona Ryder), the teenaged niece of a local clergyman. When accusations of witchcraft begin to overtake the town and his wife Elizabeth (Joan Allen) is accused of witchcraft, John must face his neighbors and be able to look in the mirror at the same time.
This movie is extremely powerful. While it was based on the hunt by the American government for communists in the early 1950’s, it holds up as the fight between just going along with the crowd or standing up for what you believe in.
Four years earlier, Daniel Day Lewis was the lead character in The Last Of The Mohicans, based on the book of the same name by James Fenimore Cooper. Hawkeye or Nathaniel Poe (Daniel Day Lewis) is a frontiersman in upstate New York during the French and Indian War. A romance is initiated with a British colonel’s daughter, but a war on both sides of the border brewing, Nathaniel must decide what is the best course of action for his life.
This movie is not as good as The Crucible, but it is a window into the world of rural pre-revolutionary era America that no longer exists.
I recommend both.