Michael Mann’s Miami Vice is an expressionistic, visceral, and visually poetic art film masquerading as a summer blockbuster actioner. Unlike most of my reviews, which I vainly type up myself, I’m calling in outside help on this one. After this most recent viewing, which really resonated with me, I sought out some reviews, essays, and analyses on the film. I believe these say what I would try to say far more eloquently and succinctly than I could.
Further reading on Miami Vice:
In Defense of Miami Vice (by Kevin J. Olson)
Olson’s essay really highlights the effectiveness of the digital cinematography, as well as the visual poetry on display (comparing Mann’s work with Terence Malick, which is interesting and convincing).
All The Mann I Ever Need (by Cameron Jappe)
I love this review/essay for multiple reasons. First, Cameron explicates on Mann’s constant theme of masculinity, and the hyper-masculinity exuded by many of his main characters. He cites that one criticism may be that women in Mann’s films are often “on the periphery,” and then proceeds to refute that argument throughout the rest of the essay. Other highlights of the piece are his insights into Mann’s romantic sensibilities, mixing the old-fashioned and the post-modern into a beautiful work of art.
I love this quote from the end of his essay: “It’s a reverie brimming with the things that cinema was made for: romance, thrills, action, violence, exquisite landscapes, bodies in motion and intimate stillness.”
There are other great reviews, several of which I read and enjoyed last night, but I’m limiting myself. While I don’t believe Miami Vice to be Michael Mann’s greatest film, it is lush, expressionistic, and a definite work of art. I didn’t hesitate to purchase it in HD – as that’s the only way it can really be seen. Just like the powerful jarring opening frame it throws you in to Mann’s world of uncool-yet-cool music, perfect evocative cinematography, and architectural action set pieces.