Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Miami Vice. B

There's a circle of people, chiefly from various areas on the web, who consider Michael Mann's Miami Vice a truly great movie. While it's easy to identify with the majority of people who look at the movie as one of Mann's lesser efforts, a broad, open mind and the ability to recognize Mann's interests (much different from his earlier films like Heat and The Insider) can also enable one to see where Miami Vice enthusiasts are coming from. Mann has peeled away any flair, replaced by grit, to accentuate the principles of an action movie in its most primitive form. He takes two heroes, removes visual formula to make them appear complex, and then unveils through a generic drug plot that they're complete archetypes. Mann pretends at first as he's fooling us, and when his master plan becomes clear, one can't help but admire the craft that went into the project. That said, I liked Public Enemies (a movie I've reconsidered hugely since I first saw it) more because it followed in the footsteps of Miami Vice only with greater risks because of how much was at stake with the fact-based story and characters. Also, Mann makes Johnny Depp interesting without telling us why, while Colin Farrell was purposefully just not very interesting. Detractors who claim that the only quality to Public Enemies are the Tommy Gun battles will likely have the same thing to say about Miami Vice and the bad ass shootout at the end. Also, one can't help but love the way Mann, the mast of shooting at night, captures color in the evening skies. Mann's departure from movies like the aforementioned Heat and The Insider represent one of the most intriguing revisions of style for any director today. What will be interesting is if he'll continue the trend with his next film, or if he'll return to his roots, or if he'll go in an entirely new direction. I wish he was directing rather than producing his new project Gold with Paul Haggis. It's supposed to be like new version of Sierra Madre, which alone has me ecstatic regardless of who's behind the camera.

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