Tag Archives: Michael Mann

XL Popcorn – Heat

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 848/1007Title: Heat
Director: Michael Mann
Year: 1995
Country: USA

So I come to the end of the two weeks off I had at home since Covid-19 led to the cancellation of my trip to Canada. I would have definitely rather have shown my husband the wonders of that beautiful nation, but instead have used the time to try and build some of the blog lead back that I lost thanks to my lost summer.

I am going to really miss watching so many films – but Heat was a cool watch for the Sunday before going back to work. It’s long, action-packed and it takes your mind off of the potential nightmare that awaits. Plus, there’s the added advantage of seeing the film that inspired one of the heists in Grand Theft Auto V – one of the many places where the influence of this film can be felt.

Along with Die Hard, Michael Mann’s Heat is pretty much as high as you can get in the world of critically acclaimed action films. I think that watching this has helped me realize that action movies may not be one of my favourite genres. Not that it was really in the running, but Heat is one of those films where I can see that this is a massive influence and really well made – but I thought it was really good rather than great.

The big thing that I was astonished about in this film was how quickly the time went by. This is a film where (credits removed) you have 160 minutes of plot, but the pacing is done so well that you don’t really feel it. The only real exception is when you get to the extremely long shoot out, where I began to get a bit bored of the exploration of every type of bullet hole in an every day object.

I think it is also mentioning the scene where Al Pacino and Robert De Niro are opposite each other in the cafe. It’s one of those scenes that people mention online and have a vague recollection of it being in a cringeworthy segment of The Graham Norton Show featuring Thomas Hiddleston. Maybe it’s because it was so bigged up about the power in this scene, or maybe because it’s the idea of getting these juggernauts of their generation acting together in the same scene – but I was left a bit disappointed.

It feels like I am dragging this film a bit, and I don’t mean to – Heat is a great film within its genre and one that is hugely influential and referenced in later works. I just think that this isn’t always the sort of film that hits for me.

XL Popcorn – Manhunter

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 671/1007
Title: Manhunter
Directors: Michael Mann
Year: 1986
Country: USA

Time can be incredibly kind to movies. In the case of Manhunter, which pretty much bombed upon release, time has been exceptionally loving. After all this film, based on the novel that gifted the world Hannibal Lecter, has helped to inspire any number of films and TV shows where crimes are solves with forensic science. It’s hard to believe that a flop could have such a wide-ranging impact.

Watching this in 2018 it is hard for this film not to be subject to the incredible shadow cast upon it by The Silence of the Lambs. Then again, the character of Hannibal Lecter aside, these are incredibly different films. Sure, both of them are crime thrillers with forensic elements but the atmospheres are incredibly different thanks to the directors.

Where Demme cast The Silence of the Lambs in a dark and sometimes claustrophobic world to help highlight the darkness of Buffalo Bill, Michael Mann instead plays with a lot of contrasts and juxtapositions. This isn’t just in the visual colour pallates, but also in the editing and, at points, shooting speed of scenes.

After all the lead character, a criminal profiler called Will Graham played by future CSI star William Petersen, succeeds in his job by trying to put himself in the mindset of the killer. So, the further we get into the movie the more out of touch he becomes, which is something that the film begins to reflect.

It’s also worth making a mention of Tom Noonan in his role as the serial killer known as ‘The Tooth Fairy’. He is able to make someone who is mostly mild mannered (until he, you know, sets you on fire) feel utterly intimidating just by standing there at his naturally tall height. Reminded me a lot of Cameron Britton in Mindhunters in how someone’s presence can just bring the tension.

I honestly went into this expecting a generic, but still decent, thriller. Having watched Manhunter I can say that I was pleasantly surprised. Still,  I think this might be the end of my weird run of 1980s movies for now. Whilst this didn’t reach the heights of Come and See at least it was head and shoulders above Stranger Than Paradise. Maybe I’ll finish off the Michael Mann entries and watch Heat this weekend… I mean I really should see what the fuss is all about with the Pacino/De Niro scene.