I love the movies of Michael Mann. Watching parts of “Last of the Mohicans” yesterday and today got me thinking about this. One of his best movies is “Collateral.” It’s, at the very least, his most accessible. There are many things I love about that movie, but someone else did a much better job of praising his little gem.
Manohla Dargis wrote reviews for the Los Angeles Times for a while, but took a position at the New York Times in the summer of 2004. “Collateral” was her first review after this transition. I thought it was really interesting to read a review of a movie set in L.A., written by someone who had just left a job over there. And if that wasn’t interesting enough, she seemed to be the first movie critic who “got” Michael Mann. Just look at this excerpt:
“But as with all of Mr. Mann’s movies, ”Collateral” is finally about men and work, and about how being a man is itself a kind of job. (It’s no wonder the director gives the Sears ”Craftsman” logo a loving nod.) Whether chasing fictionalized serial killers or those serial killers who run tobacco companies, Mr. Mann’s men risk everything — happiness, women, life itself — to get the job done, which explains why these fastidiously executed commercial films are not just entertainments, but statements of personal faith.”
This eloquent woman showed me that she understood what Michael Mann had been saying through all of his movies. And I haven’t stopped reading her reviews since that day.