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Nobody Does It Better

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 24, 2005 3:28PM

2005_03_24_mann.jpgMichael Mann’s skill for finding the noir-ish Los Angeles of In A Lonely Place and Chinatown among the fake tits and fake friends of modern-day L.A. remains his calling card. But before hitting the L.A. streets, Mann flexed his muscles on the urban landscape of Chicago with the television show Crime Story and the movie Thief. Hallmarks of Mann’s films can be found in both works: the career criminal pulling one last job; the hunter becoming like his prey; and the notion that there may be no good guys or bad guys, instead "there's just a bunch of guys.”

Whereas Wes Anderson’s attention to detail is a tool in the service of surrealism, Mann’s goal is verisimilitude. On Collateral’s DVD bonus features, Tom Cruise tells a story of Mann giving him photos he took of a very real tenement in Gary and telling Cruise it was where his fictional character spent his early years. And while many filmmakers can claim to fostering great acting, Mann also demonstrates the technical expertise required of today’s director.

All this may be why The Gene is honoring Mann with their Visionary Award for Innovation in Filmmaking at their Annual Gala on April 2nd. Personally, we’re just thankful to the man for giving us our first look at The Green Mill. We sure as hell can’t afford the $300 ticket price so we’ll be grabbing our old student IDs and lining up for the filmic tribute to Michael Mann that starts there tomorrow. First up is the gritty urban cop thriller Last of the Mohicans followed next week by the economically titled Manunter, Thief, and Heat. Manhunter’s a must see for anyone interested in seeing former Steppenwolfer William Petersen bust some pre-CSI forensic skills on a tree or kick some ass to In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.

Image courtesy of The Gene