The Michael Mann appreciation thread

LeonardPineLeonardPine The Bar on the Beach
edited November 2020 in General Movies & TV Posts: 3,271
Watching some of Michael Mann's film's recently, I thought there should be a discussion thread for this amazing director.

I'll start with a list of my personal favourites.

1. Manhunter (The best Thomas Harris adaptation. William Peterson and Brian Cox are great in it)
2. Heat (One of the best crime epics ever made. Pure Mann and pure class)
3. Thief (Almost a companion piece to Heat. Really riveting crime thriller. One of James Caans best performances)
4. Last of the Mohicans (A beautiful and spectacular period piece)
5. Miami Vice (I know some of the dialogue is a bit off but I think this is severely underrated)
6. Collateral (Has a lot of flaws but so well shot and acted)

I must admit I need to rewatch The Insider and Ali. I've also guiltily never seen The Keep...
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Comments

  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    Posts: 5,895
    My favourite director - Mann has a great knack for character, a unique visual style and a keen sense of detail. All three never so strongly displayed as they were in Heat, which is my favourite film of all time and the bar against which I measure all crime dramas.

    Just out of curiosity, what are Collateral's flaws in your opinion, @LeonardPine? I've often seen people pick it as their favourite Mann film.
  • Don't forget he cut his teeth on Starsky and Hutch.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 29,941
    Don't forget he cut his teeth on Starsky and Hutch.

    Never realized that.
  • GatecrasherGatecrasher Classified
    edited December 2020 Posts: 241
    I could watch Manhunter, Collateral, and Heat all day long, back to back to back. Michael Mann has such a distinctive visual style that’s visceral and pulls you in, like an atmospheric gravitational force.

    I’ve also always enjoyed the way Mann writes his characters have some sort of moral ambiguity, people who live in perpetual shades of grey; it’s reflective of our own society - that no one is entirely good, or entirely evil
  • edited December 2020 Posts: 13,460
    Michael Mann's work on Miami Vice TV show is what brought him to my attention then it was Manhunter my parents rented it I liked the realistic style at the time (I was never a big fan of the more well known Silence of the Lambs back then).

    I have the majority of Mann's films on DVD. Heat is probably my favorite of his films.
  • GadgetManGadgetMan Nigeria
    Posts: 3,273
    The Last Of The Mohicans was the one that introduced me to Director Michael Mann. His visceral and atmospheric...yet stylish direction, Day-Lewis' electric performance, a truly stellar score by Trevor Morris and Randy Edelman, a beautiful Madeleine Stowe and a terrifying villain in Wes Studi.

    I later saw Heat, Collateral and his other brilliant films. But I also really like the more recent Public Enemies as well. His fast and engaging direction and the performances he got from Bale and Depp. I also really like Elliot Goldenthal's somewhat eclectic score and the way he uses it in the scene where Depp's Dillinger looks at photos of his dead gang members and in the final scene, when Depp's Dillinger meets his end, it really adds tension to Mann's direction.
  • Posts: 4,257
    Still not fully recognised for his talent IMHO. He's up there with the best.
  • ResurrectionResurrection Kolkata, India
    Posts: 2,541
    Heat is one his best and my favorite film's of all time.
  • Posts: 4,257
    If you look at Manhunter, Heat and Last of the Mohicans: the climax is worthy of the rest of the film, both in terms of external action and internal emotion. Collateral never really pulls this off IMHO so it will never be one of my top Mann movies.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 33,811
    I've been a big fan of his for many years now. Not a fan of Ansel Elgort but I can't wait for Mann's HBO series Tokyo Vice, been way too long since he was behind the camera.
  • Posts: 484
    I’ve seen The Keep. It’s ... ok.

    Some individual shots are fantastic. The vertical tracking shot at the beginning is one. There’s another shot where the soldiers first look into the abyss under the castle, and Mann does something brilliant there with the long track away from the soldier, the shot goes and on and on and the soldier disappears into the remote distance. Superb and very chilling to watch.

    But the performances IMO are really hammy.

    My view is biased though because I’ve read the original novel too, so I’m suffering from a bad case of “the novel was better” syndrome. Mann changed the monster. The new monster was ok but the original monster (a vampire) integrated much better with the setting.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 18,677
    I love all of Mann's films, except THE KEEP, which I still find intriguing. I'd love to read a book on the making of that film. I'm sure there's an interesting story hidden in there somewhere, and a bigger budget along with studio support and a director who's comfortable with this stuff could've made it work. I don't hate the film, but it is half a film and I wish I could see the other half. ;) Awesome Tangerine Dream score too.

    Everything else in Mann's resume, including Black Hat, ranges from good to great in my book. HEAT is my favourite film of his, no doubt about it.
  • LeonardPineLeonardPine The Bar on the Beach
    Posts: 3,271
    My favourite director - Mann has a great knack for character, a unique visual style and a keen sense of detail. All three never so strongly displayed as they were in Heat, which is my favourite film of all time and the bar against which I measure all crime dramas.

    Just out of curiosity, what are Collateral's flaws in your opinion, @LeonardPine? I've often seen people pick it as their favourite Mann film.

    I just find some of the plotting and scenarios in Collateral hard to swallow.

    Other than that it's top notch.
  • LeonardPineLeonardPine The Bar on the Beach
    Posts: 3,271
    Has anyone seen his original take on Heat, the TV film, 'LA Takedown'?

    It's pretty much Heat but cheaply made with low rent actors. Worth a look for curiosity value. You can see why Mann saw the potential in remaking it.
  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    Posts: 5,895
    My favourite director - Mann has a great knack for character, a unique visual style and a keen sense of detail. All three never so strongly displayed as they were in Heat, which is my favourite film of all time and the bar against which I measure all crime dramas.

    Just out of curiosity, what are Collateral's flaws in your opinion, @LeonardPine? I've often seen people pick it as their favourite Mann film.

    I just find some of the plotting and scenarios in Collateral hard to swallow.

    Other than that it's top notch.

    That's fair enough. I would agree with @patb above with respect to the ending. I think the film peaks in the middle third, which is just one great scene after another. Cruise is phenomenal, too.
  • Posts: 3,011
    Good choice for a thread, Leonardpine.
    Enjoy all the films you listed apart from 'Miami Vice', which didnt work for me!
    I wouldnt bother with 'The Keep', its pretty poor!
    'Manhunter' is still a favourite of mine. Awsome thriller. And Brian Cox is a far more frightening Lector than the cartoonish Hopkins!
  • LeonardPineLeonardPine The Bar on the Beach
    Posts: 3,271
    Mathis1 wrote: »
    Good choice for a thread, Leonardpine.
    Enjoy all the films you listed apart from 'Miami Vice', which didnt work for me!
    I wouldnt bother with 'The Keep', its pretty poor!
    'Manhunter' is still a favourite of mine. Awsome thriller. And Brian Cox is a far more frightening Lector than the cartoonish Hopkins!

    Cheers mate!

    I thought a director as interesting as Mann deserved a thread.

    His films are seriously re-watchable.
  • Posts: 1,419
    Mann reminds me of Richard Donner in being underrated as opposed to some of his peers. Excels in the crime genre, although Last of the Mohicans is a gorgeous film, one of my wife's favorites.

    On a side note, I used to work with a guy who is a historic reenactor and enthusiast and he was an extra in that film and said Mann was an "idiot" as far as the details and such went. That guy was a big blowhard anyway, so I didn't put much stock into that since the work speaks for itself.
  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    edited December 2020 Posts: 5,895
    BT3366 wrote: »
    Mann reminds me of Richard Donner in being underrated as opposed to some of his peers. Excels in the crime genre, although Last of the Mohicans is a gorgeous film, one of my wife's favorites.

    On a side note, I used to work with a guy who is a historic reenactor and enthusiast and he was an extra in that film and said Mann was an "idiot" as far as the details and such went. That guy was a big blowhard anyway, so I didn't put much stock into that since the work speaks for itself.

    I think one of my favourite details from Mann was having Val Kilmer's Chris in Heat use an Arkansas driver's license to buy the explosives materials at the beginning of the film. Apparently (and I wonder if anyone here can confirm this?) there was a faulty batch of Arkansas driver's licenses produced in the early 90s that made them easy to copy/replicate - making them popular among criminals for obvious reasons.
  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Defender of Timothy Dalton, George Lazenby & Éric Serra!
    Posts: 5,028
    Manhunter is definitely up there amongst my favourite films.

    But I'd like to mention Miami Vice as well. I just love that show. The cinematography, the music, the characters.

  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 18,677
    Has anyone seen his original take on Heat, the TV film, 'LA Takedown'?

    It's pretty much Heat but cheaply made with low rent actors. Worth a look for curiosity value. You can see why Mann saw the potential in remaking it.

    I have. Indeed, it's interesting just to see where he came from and how much of LATD returns in HEAT.
  • Posts: 4,257
    It's a trubute to Mann's judgement and persistence re LA Take Down that he knew there was a great story there and produced a much better version.

    Anyone seen "Thief" - his first feature I think? Not his best but you can seen some of the classic Mann style and Caan is very good.

  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    Posts: 5,895
    patb wrote: »
    It's a trubute to Mann's judgement and persistence re LA Take Down that he knew there was a great story there and produced a much better version.

    Anyone seen "Thief" - his first feature I think? Not his best but you can seen some of the classic Mann style and Caan is very good.


    Another great Tangerine Dream soundtrack, too.
  • LeonardPineLeonardPine The Bar on the Beach
    Posts: 3,271
    patb wrote: »
    It's a trubute to Mann's judgement and persistence re LA Take Down that he knew there was a great story there and produced a much better version.

    Anyone seen "Thief" - his first feature I think? Not his best but you can seen some of the classic Mann style and Caan is very good.


    Another great Tangerine Dream soundtrack, too.

    I used to have the Thief soundtrack on vinyl. Not sure where it went to. Gutted!

    It's an amazing soundtrack 👍
  • LeonardPineLeonardPine The Bar on the Beach
    edited December 2020 Posts: 3,271
    Triple bill tonight. Last of the Mohicans, Miami Vice and Collateral

    Brilliant films. I think Vice is seriously underrated.

    Just love that scene between Jamie Foxx and Javier Bardem in Collateral.

  • It's clearly been way too long since I've seen Collateral. I have no recollection of Javier Bardem being in that.

    Count me among those who rather enjoyed Miami Vice (2006). Then again, I also liked The Keep, but I may have been distracted from its flaws by all the intoxicating Tangerine Dream and I agree with the sentiment that the book was an incomparably better animal—sort of like Stoker meets Tolkien in Nazi-occupied Romania. Exactly like that, actually.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 18,677
    It's clearly been way too long since I've seen Collateral. I have no recollection of Javier Bardem being in that.

    Count me among those who rather enjoyed Miami Vice (2006). Then again, I also liked The Keep, but I may have been distracted from its flaws by all the intoxicating Tangerine Dream and I agree with the sentiment that the book was an incomparably better animal—sort of like Stoker meets Tolkien in Nazi-occupied Romania. Exactly like that, actually.

    I always felt that the book was going for pure Lovecraft. The film seemed to be going there too, which is why I wish we could see a restored version of THE KEEP, though I'm not sure the many scenes they cut out have actually survived.
  • LeonardPineLeonardPine The Bar on the Beach
    Posts: 3,271
    It's clearly been way too long since I've seen Collateral. I have no recollection of Javier Bardem being in that.

    Count me among those who rather enjoyed Miami Vice (2006). Then again, I also liked The Keep, but I may have been distracted from its flaws by all the intoxicating Tangerine Dream and I agree with the sentiment that the book was an incomparably better animal—sort of like Stoker meets Tolkien in Nazi-occupied Romania. Exactly like that, actually.

    To be fair Javier Bardem is in it for a mere 10 minutes 😁
  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    Posts: 5,895
    His Santa Claus analogy is frickin' brilliant, though.
  • DarthDimi wrote: »
    It's clearly been way too long since I've seen Collateral. I have no recollection of Javier Bardem being in that.

    Count me among those who rather enjoyed Miami Vice (2006). Then again, I also liked The Keep, but I may have been distracted from its flaws by all the intoxicating Tangerine Dream and I agree with the sentiment that the book was an incomparably better animal—sort of like Stoker meets Tolkien in Nazi-occupied Romania. Exactly like that, actually.

    I always felt that the book was going for pure Lovecraft. The film seemed to be going there too, which is why I wish we could see a restored version of THE KEEP, though I'm not sure the many scenes they cut out have actually survived.

    I can see the Lovecraft influence too. Like the part with the guard working on that painting that supernaturally changes. I'd love to see a more complete The Keep. I'd love to see it out in any form, but who knows when that'll happen.
    It's clearly been way too long since I've seen Collateral. I have no recollection of Javier Bardem being in that.

    Count me among those who rather enjoyed Miami Vice (2006). Then again, I also liked The Keep, but I may have been distracted from its flaws by all the intoxicating Tangerine Dream and I agree with the sentiment that the book was an incomparably better animal—sort of like Stoker meets Tolkien in Nazi-occupied Romania. Exactly like that, actually.

    To be fair Javier Bardem is in it for a mere 10 minutes 😁

    Ah okay. I also haven't seen the film since around the time it came out, so there's that.

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