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May 30, 2007

DVD Journal: "Miami Vice"

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Miami Vice. A slickly-done Michael Mann fiasco. His digital experiments -- Mann shot the film in high-definition video -- are much more pervasive than they were in "Collateral" (which I wrote about back here). The Caribbean is black; cars and flesh both have a silvery sheen; shoot-outs and facedowns are done in a strange half-film / half-video style that evokes both "Cops" and "Saving Private Ryan." But Mann seems to have spent all of his energy on production design and digital tomfoolery. The film's narrative is beyond-murky; the dialogue is thrown-away or muttered, and is deliberately swamped in background noise; and Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell appear -- though we're asked to take them as loyal buddies -- never to have bothered making each other's acquaintance. Visually and aurally the film is a twinkly miracle. But it makes no impact whatsoever on the emotions.



posted by Michael at May 30, 2007


I didn't mind it not making any impact on the emotions. For me it functioned as surprisingly soothing visual/aural wallpaper. Even the pop-pop of the automatic weapons fire was lulling. I drifted off partway through, woke up 10 minutes later feeling refreshed, and enjoyed the rest of the picture as a kind of tranquil mood piece.

Incidentally, I saw it on DVD, but I could picture enjoying this in a theater as an escape from the summer heat. The problem for me with a lot of summer movies is that they aren't relaxing escapes anymore -- they're too bam-pow.

Posted by: Steve on May 30, 2007 3:12 PM

It *was* lulling, wasn't it? I like your description of it as wallpaper too. It's a good category: movies as wallpaper. Maybe we should run a poll: list your favorite wallpaper-movies...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on May 30, 2007 3:47 PM

Soderbergh's OCEAN'S movies? Anything by Terrence Malick? The problem with Malick is that I sometimes feel like I should be getting something that I'm not getting, whereas with Mann and Soderbergh it's all genre stuff so I never feel like I'm missing anything important.

Malick's THE NEW WORLD actually did work as wallpaper for me -- it was more simple and fable-like than, say, THE THIN RED LINE, and I could drift off quite peacefully during the hippie cavorting scenes in the new-world Eden. (Maybe anything with Colin Farrell automatically qualifies as wallpaper?)

How about Bertolucci's LITTLE BUDDHA?

Posted by: Steve on May 30, 2007 4:41 PM

Vastly underrated movie.

I feel like I'm the only person on the entire planet who loved this film.

The scene where the Female agent says that she will shoot the bomb detonator in the cerebellum so that he will be dead before he pulls the trigger on the bomb and then proceeds to do exactly that........well femme fatale cool.

Complete escapism.

Posted by: James Dudek on May 30, 2007 8:28 PM

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