Michael Mann

"His work stands alongside that of Howard Hawks, Sam Peckinpah, Paul Schrader, and Martin Scorsese for its study of masculinity and particular focus on the professional male's uneasy negotiations with society. Formally daring, his films are rarely sentimental or overtly emotional; attempting to mine the consciousness of his characters, he offers complex, but emotionally disengaged, personality studies." - Ian Haydn Smith (Contemporary North American Film Directors, 2002)

Michael Mann

Director / Screenwriter / Producer
(1943- ) Born February 5, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Country: USA
Key Genres: Crime, Crime Thriller, Thriller, Drama, Post-Noir (Modern Noir), Police Detective Film, Action
Key Collaborators: Dante Spinotti (Cinematographer), Dov Hoenig (Editor), William Goldenberg (Editor), Paul Rubell (Editor), Jamie Foxx (Leading Actor), Bruce McGill (Character Actor), Al Pacino (Leading Actor), Jon Voight (Leading Actor), Eric Roth (Screenwriter), Pieter Jan Brugge (Producer), Dion Beebe (Cinematographer), Robert Prosky (Leading Character Actor)

"No one has done more to uphold, extend, and enrich the film noir genre in recent years than Michael Mann. He is a director and producer, an organizer of TV series, a visionary of modern style who somehow integrates the fluency of Max Ophuls with the iconic poise of the most hip TV commercials. His theatrical movies come years apart, but his work for television has filled the time and been just as vital an creative a part of what he does... By the late nineties, Mann had clearly moved further ahead. Heat, it seems to me, was one of the best-made films of the decade, by which I mean that the need to look and listen closely was constantly rewarded." - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2002)
"Although Michael Mann's film output is small in comparison to his work for television (as writer, director and producer), so strong has been his influence on recent styles in both media that, provided his film career escapes the marketing problems that have blighted it so far, future recognition of his importance seems assured." - Geoff Andrew (The Film Handbook, 1989)
"Like contemporaries Tony Scott and Adrian Lyne, Michael Mann is a visual stylist with a penchant for modernist design. But while Scott and Lyne seem content to admire their reflections on the gleaming surface they create, Mann reveals himself as an old-fashioned existentialist, expressing an obsessive male social alienation in neo-noir thrillers like Thief (1981), Manhunter (1986), and his masterpiece, Heat (1995)." - Ronald Bergan (Film - Eyewitness Companions, 2006)
"He wrote scripts for television series including Starsky and Hutch and Vega$ before making his debut as a feature film director with Thief (1981). He has brought a strong visual flair to a number of stylish, moody thrillers, as well as to the acclaimed literary adaptation Last of the Mohicans (1992) and the biopic Ali (2001)." - Chambers Film Factfinder, 2006
"To see a recent Michael Mann film is to witness big-time American cinema at its glossiest and most engrossing. While audiences flock to these starry movies, critics have praised them for their visual and narrative integrity." - Richard Armstrong (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)
"A moviemaker with a clear eye about the importance of look and feel, Michael Mann first made his mark as a director on TV with Police Woman (1977), and as a writer on Starsky and Hutch (1975-1977)." - Garrett Chaffin-Quiray (501 Movie Directors, 2007)
"In many respects Michael Mann is the quintessential postmodern director, although in ways unflattering both to him and the whole notion of the postmodern. Traduced for being too entranced with style, Mann is an artist whose sense of the world is manifest precisely in the realization of style. He is perhaps the figure most closely associated with the introduction of 'rock video stylistics' to cinema, especially after his hit 1980s' television crime show Miami Vice (he was executive producer) began to have an impact." - Christopher Sharrett (Fifty Contemporary Filmmakers, 2002)
"Michael Mann’s cinematic landscape is the mean streets of urban neo-noir. His stylistic signature is a hip, almost neon look, the images sharply edited and backed by adrenalin-pumping music. Given the razzle-dazzle MTV approach he brings to his craft, it is ironic that he started out wanting to be a writer. However, while attending the University of Wisconsin and majoring in English literature, he took a film course for a fast A and got hooked on moviemaking instead." - John McCarty (International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, 2000)
"Could I have worked under a system where there were Draconian controls on my creativity, meaning budget, time, script choices, etc.? Definitely not. I would have fared poorly under the old studio system that guys like Howard Hawks did so well in. I cannot just make a film and walk away from it. I need that creative intimacy, and quite frankly, the control to execute my visions, on all my projects." - Michael Mann
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
Heat (1995) ✖︎, The Insider (1999)
Recommended
Manhunter (1986) ✖︎, The Last of the Mohicans (1992), Public Enemies (2009)
Worth a Look
Thief (1981) ✖︎, Collateral (2004) ✖︎
Approach with Caution
The Keep (1983), Ali (2001) , Miami Vice (2006) , Blackhat (2015)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
✖︎ 1,000 Noir Films
Michael Mann / Favourite Films
Apocalypse Now (1979) Francis Ford Coppola, Avatar (2009) James Cameron, Battleship Potemkin (1925) Sergei Eisenstein, Biutiful (2009) Alejandro González Iñárritu, Citizen Kane (1941) Orson Welles, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) Stanley Kubrick, My Darling Clementine (1946) John Ford, The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) Carl Theodor Dreyer, Raging Bull (1980) Martin Scorsese, The Wild Bunch (1969) Sam Peckinpah.
Source: Sight & Sound (2012)
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