Monday, April 16, 2007

Miami Vice

Two weekends ago I watched Miami Vice. I don't know what I expected going into the film. I just wanted a break from films with subtitles maybe and a way to be entertained on a saturday night without thinking too much. But the film did make me think a lot. So much so, that two days later I sent this email to a friend of mine...

I have been thinking a lot about Miami Vice the past two days. I must
be crazy...

I know I am in the far far minority on this film but I just loved it.

The dialogue was minimal yes. It was choppy yes. But the film was about two guys attempting to stay human in the face of a high pressure job in which they see only the horrible side and despicable side of human nature. They need to be serious the entire time and be completely focused the entire time. It was because of how effectively Colin farrell and Jamie Foxx wore those masks that made the love
scenes and stories come to the forefront in the second half of the movie.

Beyond that Mann uses the architecture and setting of Miami as a wonderful and perfect dark and brilliantly alive backdrop to the whole film. When Foxx and Farrell are on that rooftop in the first 30 minutes of the film after Antonio calls in distress, it looks as if they are on the very edge of teh world, and they may as well be. In the end the use of architecture and setting as backdrop for the themes of the film made me think that the film was somewhere along the lines of a Michaelangelo Antonioni (L'Avennturra) film on crack.

I absolutely loved it.

Granted, the Antonioni on crack comment was a very lazy way to try to describe the film. She said that after reading the first line of the email, she laughed out loud. And maybe it's because I had just recently watched Antonioni's L'eclisse, and still digesting it that I was seeing themes similar to that film in Mann's Miami Vice.

I started looking around on the internet for reviews and to see if anyone else actually liked this movie as much as me. I found many lukewarm reviews. But, over at Criterion Forum there was an 11 page thread with people actively and for the most part, intellegently discussing the film. And then, I was blown away by this fantastic essay on the film at Senses of Cinema. One money quote from there...

Miami Vice is above all a great film on the human condition in a time of flux. Everything progresses at top speed (the meetings, the love affairs, the reversals, the cars) but essentially nothing really moves forward. The general rumour of flux absorbs every modification of this flux, and dismisses events and characters with a noise from deep bottom. A trail of blood on the roadway (the suicide of the snitch, Alonzo (John Hawkes)), an echo on a radar or the noise of fingers snapping, are but nothing more than a short-lived imbalance of the global system. Whence the extraordinary and (paradoxical) inertia produced by a narrative so smitten with rapidity, as well as in the linking of sequences and shots, as in the execution of actions. The points of view become confused, the shots fall like unhooked links, but the general signal finishes by sweeping it along in the events that make it up. It traffics, it pulls, it circulates: Miami Vice is the point of flux against man’s point of view.

I don't know what I was searching for, when I scoured the net for likeminded admiration for Miami Vice. I've yet to figure out, honestly, if it was validation for my feelings of the film easily being one of the 5 best of last year in my mind. Or, maybe it was just hoping that the film somewhere got the recognition, that I am sure in my mind that it deserved.

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