Legends Of The Fall Review
Recently, we found a good old copy of "Legends Of The Fall" rotting away at some old book store. Naturally we decided to buy it, based on personal experience of watching it in the past.
The movie basically starts out pretty merry , Captain Ludlow portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, a retired general from the Indian wars of old, runs his farm with his three sons.
Already at the beginning, there is a creepy air about how the captain and his wife appear to love each other, yet they are so distant. This is a subliminal message that grows throughout this beautiful move.
So basically, the Captain's youngest son Samuel, brings home a beautiful mistress (not so beautiful in our opinion) , that which he intends to marry. Basically , they seem rather happy, much like his father did with Samuel's wife (whom only returns to the farm once a year).
Just a few days after bringing his beloved trophy home (and we would use the word "trophy wife" for William Ludlow 's wife as well), Samuel decides to enlist in the Canadian armed forces, as his father says ,all three boys "decide to go fight for an England which they have never seen" .
Ironically , before they leave, Samuel's darling asks Tristan (Bradd Pitt) to watch over Samuel, at which point they have a passionate hug, and Tristan's older brother Alfred sees this, they then begin to grow more distant for Alfred suspects an affair.
The boys are then shipped off to some portion of Belgium where Alfred gets wounded by an artillery shell, this does not bode well for him and he is sent home.
Samuel becomes a translator, for he knew near fluent German.
One foreboding even occurs prior to the turning point of the movie, Samuel is hit by a machine gun round in the face. It is only a scratch, but it shows you that unlike Tristan , whom never gets hurt, Samuel is weak and mortal.
-A bit of background on Tristan: he's really a wildman-type.(HINT: Note how when he takes the blood of the bear after it slices him, they are bound?). Even at the beginning of the movie, he prefers to chase wild horses and talk with the Indians over doing more civilized things, like politics. This makes him the binary opposite of his prissy brother, Alfred. Alfred portrayed by Aidan Quinn, is the politician-type, this also ends up putting him into conflict with his father's personal hate for the government following the torture imposed on the natives by this so called "government".-
Further on, as Tristan and Samuel grow closer, and Tristan, in effect, keeps his promise to Samuel's fiancée, there comes a turning point in the mood of the movie.
One day, Tristan finally leaves Samuel alone. Again, you must note when watching this movie, Samuel is never hurt while Tristan is at his side.
Now lets go forward, Samuel foolishly decides to take the place of some scouting commander that lay ill with a shot leg.
Tristan is informed of this and goes chasing for his brother, when he finds him (after the whole Hollywood-style slaughter of two men of the German imperial cavalry) , Samuel lies on the ground dying of mustard gas, at the same time, he gets stuck in barbed wire (notice how later on in the movie a cow gets stuck in the barbed wire?).
Samuel is then dramatically machine-gunned by an imperial German firing squad. This enrages Tristan, having failed his father and Samuel's fiancée, he kills the German machinegun squad with blatant savagery. And as the Indians told him, the essence of the human soul is in the warm still-beating heart of the human body. Seeing that he could not carry his brother wthout getting killed, he took his heart and sent it home to his father for burial.
He then goes on to kill a few more German squads, and marauds the scalps on his vest.
At the same time, Alfred (the now more political brother) decides to court Samuel's widow. She naturally objects to him, feeling rather dreary at the loss of her husband.
They stay at the farm for a few "winter months" nothing happens, they don't get much closer.
Tristan later returns, to Alfred's distaste. Alfred and Tristan keep growing further at this point, Alfred even blames Tristan for Samuel's death, thinking that he would have him die to take his fiancée.
Tristan then goes to Samuel's grave site and begins to lament. Susannah, seeing him there tries to comfort him. The passion seen from the first hug come raging out of them. They become lovers.
Alfred, somehow aware of this, tells Tristan to keep her happy, and departs for the city.
Alfred becomes congressman, and somehow gets mixed up with mafias, gangsters and other illegal dons. Ironically, Alfred asks for his father's blessing prior to becoming a congressman, and he is turned down. William asks the crew of corrupted people what they want from Alfred, and they silently look down in shame. Alfred then takes the personal decision to seize office without his father's blessing.
Before Alfred asked for this permission , Tristan abandoned Susannah. He goes on to look for adventure in the south pacific islands, and pretty much all over the world. Yes, Tristan does get raped anally by Asian men, but this is one of the few "awkward" scenes in the movie.
Tristan later returns , ironically thanks to Alfred whom voted on prohibition, alcohol is now illegal. The farm becomes a shadow of what it was, kind of symbolizing the decay of the Ludlow family. Cattle markets close for cattle factories, and prices drop. William is happy to see his "favorite" son , but after a paralyzing stroke, he can no longer speak or walk too well.
William tells Tristan to take up bootlegging - Tristan obliges-. Tristan then goes into the city to see Alfred after all these years. To his despair, he sees Susannah, now Alfred's wife , picking flowers. They chat and Tristan leaves.
Bootlegging goes well for Tristan, he becomes a rich man, and the farm is pretty much restored, much like the family. Tristan even decides to marry Isabel II (named after his own mother), a Native American half breed that had admired him for so long.
They have two children, the boy is christened Samuel after his deceased younger brother. Everything seems absolutely perfect , then a bootlegging pimp takes Tristan aside to warn him, if he ever does another delivery, hes a dead man, even if his brother is a congressman.
Tristan continues, and on his return from a carnival, his car is approached by a group of corrupted police officers (government people ), they shoot a thompson smg , killing Isabel II (Tristan's wife).
Tristan, now utterly enraged attacks the corrupted police officer, battering him with the butt of his own rifle until he is nearly dead. For this, he gets 30 days in jail.
In jail, and after everything had already gone to hell, Tristan is visited by a weeping Susannah that tells him she maybe she wanted Isabel II to die, and maybe even Samuel. Tristan turns her down, she goes home , and shoots herself.
As Tristan gets out of prison, he is confronted by one of the mobster pimps, they fight, and Tristan impales him on a pitchfork.
Later that day, Alfred is visiting, and the execution squad comes to finish Tristan off for killing a mob boss.
Naturally, Tristan, being a manly man, asks them to take him to the woods, so his children wont see this shameful thing happen.
As the corrupted men ponder, William Ludlow, whom had just assembled the rifle Tristan brought him from the far east, asked about the situation. As the men told him to go back inside, he pulled out the rifle, shot two of the three men, and as the third was about to gun him down, Tristan jumped in the way, the man about to fire fell dead.
None other than Alfred had shot the last man. They dispose of the bodies , and cars, but as Alfred states "you don't have to be smart to figure out who did this" , Tristan needed to leave, again. This time , he asked Alfred to watch over his kids, and he obliged. Since both men had nothing again, its just one of those weird parts of the movie that's so demoniacally charming.
Tristan leaves, never to return. His last scene in the movie shows him with the same bear that he had fought in his youth, and not shot in his mid- years, now they wrestled for supremacy, and as the movie makes us believe, they finished each other off.
Overall this is the most stunning tragedy we have seen in a movie, ever. Out of all the American movies out right now, nothing can really compare to the depth of absolute dreary despair this movie instills.
The music was also great. Yes, we even found someone that did the battle where Alfred gets his leg shot on piano:
And, dont just rent this movie , buy it , you can get it for only 6$ off amazon, its a keeper. We swear by it, you can watch this over and over again!