The Cinema of Michael Mann: Vice and Vindication (Directors' Cuts)
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Michael Mann is one of the most important American filmmakers of the past forty years. His films exhibit the existential concerns of art cinema, articulated through a conspicuous and recognizable visual style and yet integrated within classical Hollywood narrative and genre frameworks. Since his beginnings as a screenwriter in the 1970s, Mann has become a key figure within contemporary American popular culture as writer, director, and producer for film and television. This volume offers a detailed study of Mann's feature films, from The Jericho Mile (1979) to Public Enemies (2009), with consideration also being given to parallels in the production, style, and characterization in his television work. It explores Mann's relationship with classical genres, his thematic concentration on issues of morality and masculinity, his film adaptations from literature, and the development and significance of his trademark visual style within modern American cinema.
communication of individual experience and perception outside of dialogue. In an interview, one of Mann’s consistent collaborators, cinematographer Dante Spinotti, has discussed the connotative endowment of colour in the director’s films and the manipulation of tones to deliberate and conspicuous effect in the first of their collaborations, Manhunter. Spinotti attributes the dressing of sets and inclusion of every prop and artifact in the constructed mise-en-scène to the director himself, but
resolution in Thief to destroy a domestic identity in order to honour and preserve his professional principles, and the reactive violence of the crew in Heat when irruptions of chaos threaten their professional mastery), in Collateral they assume an unusual force and significance. The emphasis and sympathy lie poised between the decisive but ‘indifferent’ sociopath and the vacillating but honourable citizen: Collateral depicts and articulates Vincent’s worldview for the sake of the film’s
Hollywood with a revolutionary bent from its director’s perspective. The screenplay for Mann’s adaptation of The Last of the Mohicans owes more to a preceding film version (directed in 1936 by George Seitz, from a script by Philip Dunne) than to Cooper.3 Yet the potential relevance of the original story to historical and contemporary politics, for adaptations from different eras including Mann’s own, was as significant to the director as the classical cinematic inheritance and the desire to
(Harkness 1992: 15) However, the racial refashioning of Cooper’s narrative and the heroic repositioning of Hawkeye’s character are dependent upon the role now granted to Cora, as the replacement of Uncas within the vanishing people, as the audience for Hawkeye’s life story and the myth of the Earth Mother, and the inheritor of Elizabeth Cameron’s role as frontier wife and mother. The destruction of families (Magua’s, Munro’s and Chingachgook’s) and the absence or death of mother figures is
one-dimensional depiction of their saviour, consolidated at the end of Schindler’s List. The singular determination of Malcolm’s image and importance achieved at the film’s conclusion stands in contrast to the fluidity of his identity which marks the scenes of his conversion to Islam while in prison. In championing the suggestiveness of these scenes’ subjectivity in exploring Malcolm’s transformation, McCrisken and Pepper lament the film’s subsequent, inexorable movement towards a limited and