13/12/2006

THE GENIUS OF MICHAEL MANN

There's an excellent feature in The Guardian entitled "Star Vehicles" which looks in some detail at the stylistic and story telling features of my favourite director Michael Mann. I watched Mann's latest film Miami Vice for the third time on a recent flight back from the US and my opinion of it is improving. Miami Vice is a bit of a stumble for Mann but there's some great, subtle moments you can't really appreciate in one viewing.



However, Mann's three movies Heat, The Insider and Collateral are what I'd consider to be his best three movies, with Heat his defining work. The coffee shop scene is one of my all-time favourites and the gun battle in downtown LA and the final dash across the LAX tarmac and the DeNiro-Pacino shoot-out are superb. The Insider is a movie I come back to time and time again to reignite my love of the journalistic profession. The "Are you a news man or are you a businessman" discussion in the middle of the movie is superbly scripted by Mann and Eric Roth. The Insider is the movie that led me to give up the IT editor's job on the Herald and move to Wellington to study under another genius, the playwright Ken Duncum, at the Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University.

Anyway, most people I talk movies with haven't much time for Mann's unsentimental characters, violent, humourless storylines and empty, cold style. I love it all, I'm a dedcated Michael Mann fan and that Guardian article remnided me of everything I love about the director's films.

1 comment:

Patrick said...

Hi Pete,

My favourite Heat quote is from Lt Vincent Hanna is the picture "cup of coffee" scene:

"We're sitting here like a coupla regular fellas. You do what you do. I do what I gotta do. What happens if I am there and I got to put you away? I won't like it. But, if it's between you and some poor bastard whose wife you're going to make into a widow, brother, you are going down."

Kind regards,
PG