Aug 27, 2005

heat, mann, miami

Via Matt Jonesdelicious feed, a great analysis by K-Punk of Michael Mann’s Heat, ten years on.

This is a post-Fordist organized crime movie, in which the scores are undertaken by crews, not Families, in an LA of polished chrome and interchangable designer kitchens, of featureless freeways and late-night diners, a no-place that is very far from being a utopia. All the local colour, the cuisine aromas, the cultural idiolects which the obvious comparison pieces, the Coppola and Scorsese gangster flicks of the seventies*, depended upon, have been leeched out, painted over, re-fitted and re-modelled. You could be anywhere … It is a world without landmarks. Ours: a branded Sprawl, where markable territory has been replaced by endlessly repeating vistas of replicating franchises. The ghosts of Old Europe that stalked Scorsese and Coppola’s streets have been exorcised, buried with the ancient beefs, bad blood and burning vendettas somewhere beneath the multinational coffee shops.

OK, maybe a bit overblown (a movie can be post-Fordist?), but still.  Heat is a recent classic, much better than Mann’s more recent ode to L.A., the Cruise-infected Collateral.  Given his comparisons to Scorsese and Coppola flicks, I’m surprised Mr. Punk missed the fact that Heat was the first movie where DeNiro and Pacino actually had a scene together.  (They were both in The Godfather: Part II, of course, but Puzo’s novel lacked the necessary time travel element to enable shared screentime.)  The Heat diner scene between oh-so-similar cop and robber is one of the highlights of the movie (enhanced, of course, by the inside baseball feeling of it all); the other is the ferocious 25 minute bank robbery / gun battle, which Just. Won’t.  Stop.

And speaking of gun battles, according to IMDB Mann’s currently filming a theatrical Miami Vice, with Jamie Foxx as Tubbs, and Colin Farrell as Crockett.  Hot damn, I love America.