4.27.2017

CINEMA LOVE: Why Michael Mann is one of my favorite directors

Michael Mann
Michael Mann


Michael Mann just might be my favorite director right now, not because of anything new but by revisiting his older flicks. Last of the Mohicans, Heat,
The Insider, Manhunter .... I could go on and on. For my money, Mann is the master of modern noir. Heat and The Insider are two perfect examples. I recently watched both and let me explain why I think they might be his finest works.

Heat is the quintessential obsessed cop (Al Pacino) vs. criminal mastermind (Robert Deniro). As the movie builds and the tension mounts, the two opposites (although very similar) are thrown into a situation where they agree to meet. They lay it all on the table - there is no more ambiguity. Deniro makes two rookie mistakes. First is falling in love, which goes against his mantra - "do not get into anything you can't walk out on in 30 seconds" and revenge. The movie plays from there - but I won't give anymore away. This is an excellent movie - one of the best.

Even better was The Insider. This movie is very similar and yet very different. The tension is racked up tremendously through out. The basic story - Russell Crowe plays a tobacco executive with insider information who is fired, pissed off and the runs across Al Pacino who plays a 60 minutes reporter looking for the important stories. Crowe ultimately goes along to get the story out but not without consequence. The foe in this one is largely unseen. It's the corporations and the lawyers who hide behind nonchalant threats. Eventually, the whole process takes Crowe along for the ride. This is a must see movie - the score, shooting, casting ... everything is incredible!

There are many more great Mann movies out there, but having recently watched these, I felt compelled to share. Most newer movie directors out there lack the patience and the discipline to make great art. You could almost write a piece of software to do a better job.