Ladies and gentlemen, here is a
director artist who understands that style and substance go hand-in-hand. For the better part of twenty years, Michael Mann has been virtually laboring in vain, assembling a diverse filmography while, at the same time, complementing his cinematic excursions with an aural and visual palette rivaled by a scant few in the business. His artfully-arranged pastiche of art-deco
interiors and ambient music, are not merely triumphs of competent production design and soundtrack supervision, but they effectively evoke the mood of the environs onscreen.
Heat, his 1995 crime saga is possibly the most vivid, grandoise realization of Mann's creative ennui.
Oh sure, any movie that pairs two forces of nature like Al Pacino and Robert De Niro is going to arouse interest on marquee value alone. But Mann's writing and directing raise the film to the level of symphony, and the film's central themes -- man-woman relations, cop-robber "dependency", domestic strife, et al -- resonate.
Couple that with moody cinematography (dark, metallic hues of blue do wonder for the Los Angeles streets at night), and a soundtrack that ranges from the sublime to the haunting to the
mechanical and you have perhaps the single most underrated movie of the 1990s, next to Glengarry Glen Ross.
It goes without saying that I base my life around his teachings.