Monday, April 18, 2011

Finding your inner medulla: Miami Vice

Of all the films in Mann's catalog, this is the one I was interested in revisiting the most. One that was slighted both critically and commercially as not fitting in the same white overcoat as Don Johnson and instead veering into new territory.

Adaptations from television shows are a lose-lose scenario 4/5 times. Having said that, Mann wasn't interested in stepping back into the pastel colored world of Miami Vice as much as creating a photo negative of that world. A reboot, if you will. It pains me to use that word in a day & age where studios are reboot happy with franchises & brands.

The closest resemblance to structure as far as television show goes is it's similarity to Smuggler's Blues. A mid season episode from Season 1. I love the series just as much as any Vice fan. Why be a retread though? Mann's minimalist style suits the material well. The digital allows for some great depth of field nighttime scenes. I would say "New Decade. New Rules." But that tagline has been co-opted by a bunch of "hot & hip twentysomethings." So I'll save you the bouts of nausea.

The soundtrack that was once thumping melodies from Peter Gabriel, U2 & The Who is replaced by Moby/Patti LaBelle & Mogwai. The former creating a scene that is prime Mann and the latter closing out the film in a subdued, somber manner.

Vice's dreamlike, existential narrative is key for Mann's new digital aesthetic. It's crept into many of his films. Here it's on full display. The nuances, close-ups, use of color, etc. A film that tropes action genre cliches & doesn't get enough credit in Mann's canon. A

1 comment: