Heat (Michael Mann, 1995)

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flyonthewall2983
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#26 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Jan 02, 2007 1:09 pm

On Wednesday March 14th at 1:30 A.M., Heat will be shown on Turner Classic Movies.

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#27 Post by MichaelB » Tue Jan 02, 2007 1:21 pm

Aside from both being fanatical perfectionists who somehow manage to make deeply personal work while working squarely within the Hollywood mainstream, the other thing that links Michael Mann and Stanley Kubrick is a love of the music of the late György Ligeti, a composer who somehow managed to create some uncannily perfect film scores without ever deliberately writing for the medium. Just imagine 2001: A Space Odyssey without the Requiem or 'Lux Aeterna', and you'll see what I mean.

Anyway, the aborted night-time stake-out scene in Heat is set to the first movement of Ligeti's Cello Concerto, and it works brilliantly. I'm guessing Mann devised the scene with this specific piece in advance, as the timing is flawless - aside from a jarring cut that will only be noticed by people who know the score inside out.

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Marcel Gioberti
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I've enjoyed some of Michael Mann's films

#28 Post by Marcel Gioberti » Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:20 pm

che-etienne wrote:I agreed, and I think Ford's cinema, especially "The Searchers", speak beautifully of this. But his formulation, and Michael Mann's also, by the way, as expressed in "Collateral" and "Heat", is much more complex than the levels at which Anderson's film is working.
I've enjoyed some of Michael Mann's films as popcorn fare (see: Last of the Mohicans, Collateral) and The Insider was brilliant.

With that said, I agree with everything you've written about Heat. Maybe it's the malibu gangster culture he so meticulously celebrates or maybe it's just the asinine overacting from De Niro and Pacino or maybe it's the hilarity of the writing, but I was 17 when I saw that movie for the first time and I laughed aloud in the theater. Subsequently, it's become the source of a dozen different arguments with its supporters.

Actually, back to the music video...I think it was the writing, which includes such delights as (taken from IMDB):

Vincent Hanna:
I say what I mean and I do what I say.

Neil McCauley:
He knew the risks, he didn't have to be there. It rains... you get wet.

Justine Hanna:
You don't live with me, you live among the remains of dead people. You sift through the detritus, you read the terrain, you search for signs of passing, for the scent of your prey, and then you hunt them down. That's the only thing you're committed to. The rest is the mess you leave as you pass through.

Detritus? Jesus fucking christ...who am I hearing, a character named Justine or a writer named Mike? :lol:


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Re: Heat (Michael Mann, 1995)

#30 Post by Wes Moynihan » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:22 am

I would definitely encourage Heat fans to catch LA Takedown - rough around the edges but fascinating nonetheless...

I picked up a pretty lacklustre R2 DVD back in 2009 and I wrote some notes on the film on my blog...

What makes the film so enjoyable to watch now is comparing it to HEAT. Running for just over 90min, the bulk of LA TAKEDOWN was lifted for HEAT. Most of the dialogue survived, Mann only made minor revisions to his screenplay. In some cases dialogue is used in different scenes for different characters - but most of the major set pieces in HEAT are found in LA TAKEDOWN - the opening robbery, Waingro's murder of the prostitute, the botched surveillance job by the cops, the coffee-shop sequence, and the street shootout. The Pacino/De Niro face-off at the coffee shop in HEAT is taken word for word from the scene in LA TAKEDOWN.

With HEAT, Mann expanded his tight TV movie into a 3-hour epic and introduces new characters and back stories, like the getaway driver (who only appears at bank robbery in the TV film), or the Roger Van Sant character. The most radical revisions to the script are the expansion of the Val Kilmer character and the introduction of the Ashley Judd character. Also, the ending of HEAT at LAX is brand new. In LA TAKEDOWN the film ends with a shoot out at Waingro's hotel...

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Re: Michael Mann

#31 Post by LavaLamp » Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:24 pm

If there's a crime drama out there that's superior to Mann's Heat (1995), I definitely haven't seen it. Incredible film with a tight plot, no wasted moments or false moves (despite the almost 3-hour length), incredible scenery, A-list actors/actresses at the top of their game, excellent supporting acting, fantastic chase/action scenes, and an amazing, somewhat unexpected (at least the first time) ending. It doesn't get any better than this.

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Re: Michael Mann

#32 Post by TedW » Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:41 pm

LavaLamp wrote:If there's a crime drama out there that's superior to Mann's Heat (1995), I definitely haven't seen it. Incredible film with a tight plot, no wasted moments or false moves (despite the almost 3-hour length), incredible scenery, A-list actors/actresses at the top of their game, excellent supporting acting, fantastic chase/action scenes, and an amazing, somewhat unexpected (at least the first time) ending. It doesn't get any better than this.
I wouldn't say there's no wasted moments: the Waingro/prostitute line is a dead end and seems like a vestige of an earlier draft; the "troubled daughter" thing doesn't seem fully realized to me; Pacino is flat-out bad in a siginificant chunk of it. And the coffee scene doesn't quite live up to its billing, admit it (plus it always bothered me that Hanna pulls McCauley over on like, the 110, then they go to fucking Kate Mantilini, an entertainment industry hangout, in Beverly Hills for coffee -- form over function there. In the original script they had that scene at a food stand overlooking the freeway, that was a much better idea). It's functional, but it's not great. And somebody says the word "detritus" in a line of dialogue.

That said, I do like the movie very much, there's a lot of great stuff in it.

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Re: Michael Mann

#33 Post by LavaLamp » Fri Nov 08, 2013 3:24 pm

Well, IMHO Heat is perfect. The Waingro/prost. storyline is important in establishing the Waingro character as a sadistic, sick S.O.B. serial k. Prior to this, we had seen him as unprofessional & violent (during the heist scene in the very beginning), but the whole sequence with the prost. shows him to be an evil scumbag. So, when McCauley (DeNiro) goes after him in the end, we (the viewers) really want him to. It's irrelevant that McCauley doesn't know the extent of Waingro's transgressions - it's just important that we know what Waingro has done.

The scene in the coffee shop was the first time on film that two of the best actors of their generation were on screen together in the same sequence. That in and of itself isn't enough to make this a great scene, but I thought the back & forth between McCauley & Hanna (Pacino) worked well here.

Re: the Lauren (N. Portman) attempted s. scenes, I found these quite disturbing & poignant. As her mother mentioned, she chose Hanna to go to when she was having issues instead of her actual father, showing that she felt closer to Hanna...Anyway, this scene got to me for some reason.

There are actually so many other great scenes in the film that I can't list them all, but among them are:

- McCauley realizing that he & Chris (Kilmer) were being observed at the industrial park when they were pulling that job late at night, and then leaving immediately because of this. Then at the very end, leaving his girlfriend Edie behind because he knew he would get caught otherwise. This went with the credo that he mentioned early on in the film, "A guy told me one time, "Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."

- The day time sequence when Hanna's group were observing/taking pictures of McCauley's crew in the industrial park. Then, when they were walking around trying to figure out why the crew was there, they realized that they themselves were being observed & having their pictures taken by McCauley & his group! Classic.

-Obviously, the bank heist scene & the subsequent chase through the streets of L.A. Very tense & extremely well choreographed.

The other element of this film that hasn't been mentioned much is the noir aspect; like Thief, much of the film takes place at night with the city lights in the background. In particular, the night sequence when Edie & McCauley first go back to his place and look at the view of L.A. below them is magnificent.

And, perfectly placed was the Moby instrumental song God Moving over the face of the waters playing at the very end & into the end credits...

All this discussion about the film reminds me I really need to upgrade my copy to Blu-ray. All I have right now is the 1999 DVD, and that was alright years ago - however, on an HD TV you can really see all the flaws....
Last edited by LavaLamp on Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:15 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Re: Michael Mann

#34 Post by oh yeah » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:16 pm

I'm surprised by how often Pacino is singled out as being too over-the-top or distracting from the character. Maybe I'm just crazy, but when I'm watching the film I never think, "Oh, that's Pacino being Pacino again..." Rather, I think, "oh, that's Hanna." I think he did a wonderful job embodying the character of Hanna, who feels like someone that could exist in real life (not that that's a requirement for a good performance, anyway). The only moment that might be unnecessary and too Pacino-y is the infamous "ferocious, ain't I?" GREAT-ASS thing. Otherwise, though, just like Lowell Bergman in The Insider, I feel Pacino really becomes the character.

A few of the story-threads, mainly Waingro and the driver Breeden and his girlfriend, feel a bit less smoothly-placed in the narrative than the rest, but I can't complain much considering how well-done they are. Two powerful moments that stick with me: Waingro with his disgusting Nazi-tatted chest, suddenly lunging at the prostitute's neck, which then cuts sharply to a beer bottle-cap being twisted off. Eesh. And Breeden having a talk with his girlfriend in a church, either drunk or high (he seems like he's nodding out) as he assures her he's going to go straight and everything will work out... a very moving performance.

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Re: Michael Mann

#35 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:40 pm

When Heat came out, I remember other kids who had seen it making fun of Pacino's delivery, as if it was an exaggeration of his character in Scent of a Woman. "SHE'S GOT A BIG ASS!" "Don't waste MY MOTHERFUCKING TIME!" The sudden changes in volume, the crescendos, etc. Honestly, I'm not a fan of latter-day Pacino performances, but Heat may be the only time the shtick works for me.

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Re: Michael Mann

#36 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:42 pm

I don't think the prostitute scene is necessarily a dead end. The dead girl Hanna provides over a few scenes later is said to be another victim of a line of similar crimes which leads me to believe Waingro killed her too.

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Re: Michael Mann

#37 Post by TedW » Fri Nov 08, 2013 6:03 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote:I don't think the prostitute scene is necessarily a dead end. The dead girl Hanna provides over a few scenes later is said to be another victim of a line of similar crimes which leads me to believe Waingro killed her too.
What Waingro is or is not doing has nothing to do with the story of the film, which concerns Hanna and McCauley. The only thing we need to know about Waingro is that he transgressed McCauley, which is why he wants to kill him at the end, and thereby unravel his escape. He is a tertiary character -- a mere plot device, really. Hanna catches the prostitute murder, and nothing further is made of it other than an overwrought scene with the victim's mother. The movie deviates from its main thrust in a couple of cases: Val Kilmer/Ashley Judd and Dennis Haysbert. I'll allow those, because Kilmer is at least a secondary character and his story concludes emotionally and is good. Haysbert's story concludes emotionally as well -- the woman playing his girlfriend is quite good in her last scene. But even this is a stretch, as you must admit. But Waingro? In a movie already long? And it doesn't go anywhere or add up to anything? Nah, not interested. A definite trim.

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Re: Michael Mann

#38 Post by whaleallright » Sat Nov 09, 2013 12:03 am

TedW wrote:
What Waingro is or is not doing has nothing to do with the story of the film
You have heard of subplots, yes? Most feature films have them, three-hours-long films especially. At least within the realm of commercial cinema, a movie that long that stuck completely to two characters would be very unusual. I think Heat does a great job balancing the main plot with several subplots. Most of those plots play off the main plot cleverly, and not just in an important-information-we-need-to-know sense: they provide foils for the main characters and add to their character traits. In fact, I would say that Heat's almost perfect sense of narrative proportion is one of the things that makes it a truly outstanding crime movie.

The "overwrought scene with the victim's mother" helps to establish the horrors that Hanna encounters everyday as part of his job, something that he talks about with his wife and even with McCauley—it's the funk that he's inhabiting the entire movie. As a previous poster wrote, it also establishes the utter villainy of Waingro, which by contrast helps us to understand McCauley: he may be a thief, a criminal, but unlike Waingro he has a moral compass. And of course it's McCauley's personal sense of justice that causes him to go to the hotel to kill Waingro, dooming himself in the process. This decision gives the lie to his "30 seconds flat" line, and suggests that McCauley is a more emotionally-driven man than he would like to think.

Like much in the film, these are genre clichés, but one of the thing Heat does best is reinvest such clichés with energy and surprise through its expert plotting and exacting style. Indeed, the film's main theme—the similarities between the detective and thief characters, both professionals, both defined by their work—is itself a genre cliché. And I still don't think it's particularly revelatory here. But it is gripping.

What's weird is that Mann won't admit his films' debts to genre conventions; he often denies that his films are "genre" films at all. He argues that they come from reality, rather than other films, even though it's obvious that both of these things are true. I definitely think he brings an admirably earnest quality to his films that is rare in contemporary Hollywood genre films (especially post-Tarantino), and maybe it's necessary for him to deny the pull of genre in order to make that films that way.

[Edited for spelling/grammar.]
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Re: Michael Mann

#39 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:39 pm

The seeming disparity of the subplots TedW finds is one of the things I love about the film. It all ties together of course, as stated directly above. But in a way it's the closest thing Michael has ever done to a mosaic, like Altman before and PTA not that long after Heat. One of the deleted scenes I kind of wish had been put into the film is the brief look at seeing Tom Sizemore's family life which is shown as relatively normal compared to his partners'.

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Re: Michael Mann

#40 Post by TedW » Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:14 pm

jonah.77 wrote:TedW wrote:
What Waingro is or is not doing has nothing to do with the story of the film
You have heard of subplots, yes? Most feature films have them, three-hours-long films especially. At least within the realm of commercial cinema, a movie that long that stuck completely to two characters would be very unusual. I think Heat does a great job balancing the main plot with several subplots. Most of those plots play off the main plot cleverly, and not just in a important-information-we-need-to-know sense: they provide foils for the main characters and help to deepen their character traits. In fact, I would say that Heat's almost perfect sense of narrative proportion is one of the things that makes it a truly outstanding crime movie.

The "overwrought scene with the victim's mother" helps to establish the horrors that Hanna encounters everyday as part of his job, something that he talks about with his wife and even with McCauley—it's the funk that he's inhabiting the entire movie. As a previous poster wrote, it also establishes the utter villainy of Waingro, which by contrast helps us to understand McCauley: he may be a thief, a criminal, but unlike Waingro he has a moral compass. And of course it's McCauley's personal sense of justice that causes him to go to the hotel to kill Waingro, dooming himself in the process. This decision gives the lie to his "30 seconds flat" line, and suggests that McCauley is a more emotionally-driven man than he would like to think.
Yes, I've heard of subplots, thanks. I would suggest, though, that you're looking through the telescope the wrong way: instead of saying "most three-hour films have them" I would say most movies that have them wind up being unnecesarily long. See the difference? It's generally bad writing, and most truly great movies don't have them. Kane doesn't have a subplot. Vertigo doesn't have a subplot. We can go down the AFI list if you like. Or whatever list. And my issue with Heat was really only about the Waingro/prostitute part; I allowed for the other subplots involving Kilmer/Judd and Dennis Haysbert because at least they paid off in some way. The prostitute murder really went nowhere and added nothing to the movie. I didn't need that to "establish the utter villainy of Waingro" -- I know who and what Waingro is the minute he comes onscreen and certainly by the end of the opening sequence -- and I didn't need Waingro's serial killer routine to "understand McCauley." I understand McCauley. In fact, I think you might misunderstand McCauley -- you say he has a moral compass relative to Waingro and I don't think that's correct. He ordered the cold blood killing of the other guards once the burglary had escalated to a first degree murder beef because, as Hanna notes, "Why leave living witnesses?" That was a dastardly and ruthless calculation. McCauley may not kill a random hooker, but he has no compunction about killing an innocent bystander who happens to be in his way. What moral compass again? He goes to kill Waingro at the end, and dooms his escape, because he can't help himself, such is his rage at the man. This is a flaw, not a virtue.

Anyway, whatever. The troubled daughter thing doesn't totally work for me, it's undercooked and probably extraneous. The movie would function exactly the same without it. I like the Val Kilmer part and the Dennis Haysbert part. The Waingro-is-also-a-serial-killer is not good. Hey, why not a scene exploring the villainous psychology of William Fichtner? Why is it that I'm expected to know who and what he is from the first time he shows up (and I do) but I need Waingro explained to me via a wasteful subplot? Or that, two hours in, he's supposed to further illuminate the central character of the movie by contrast? Nah, not buying that idea at all. At some point a dramatist makes decisions about what is essential to the movie and what is not. Get those choices wrong and you will bore your audience. It's a credit to Michael Mann that he made a suspense thriller that mostly maintains its narrative tension even though it deviates here and there from the main line; the central story and the dynamic between the two leads is that compelling.

The movie might also, just might, have the wrong ending as well, but it wouldn't the real ending. In reality Chuck Adamson, the inspiration for Hanna as well as Crime Story's Mike Torello, killed the real Neil McCauley in Chicago in 1963, I believe. Perhaps the better dramatic ending, however, is for McCauley to escape Hanna at the end (maybe kill him?) and be left alone with his money on whatever island he made it to, having given up everything, including Eadie, seen his friends killed or vanished... because of his life, and his requirement that you must not have anything that you can't walk out on in 30 seconds flat, when he leaves Eadie at the car to make his run. But he did make emotional attachments, contrary to his rule, and there you have perhaps something close to a tragic figure. Though he walks out on her, he gets killed five minutes later, so it kind of doesn't matter. It doesn't have as much weight if he doesn't have to live with the consequences (see Corleone, Michael at the end of Godfather Part II). But as I said, that wasn't the real story. And I suppose Mann was more interested in the story of these two guys who are constantly in search of/in need of the elevated experience of life -- the hunt, the score -- and the particulars don't matter so much and they wind up respecting one another for providing the biggest thrills of their respective careers. The moral dimension is secondary... for both of them, really.

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Re: Michael Mann

#41 Post by matrixschmatrix » Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:35 pm

DeNiro was more or less a sociopath, and I don't think he would be particularly haunted by a situation where he kept to his code and got out cleanly. That ending works for Michael because Micheal, when we first see him, is a decent man with a functional conscience; the arc of the first movie is him compromising it to be on a level with his father, and the arc of the second his him going beyond anything his father would ever have done. In the end, he has excised anything that made him human, and he has become a dead thing, for all that his body is still alive. It's not dissimilar to the arc of Ivan the Terrible.

That doesn't work in Heat, because DeNiro is a cold hearted, calculating man who's good at what he does and keeps to his code. That's it. As you observe, there's no real moral dimension to him, and while he's capable of forming attachments, the ideology we see him stick to consistently pushes him to believe that the ability to dissolve those attachments at a moment's notice is a virtuous one. To go back to a place of no attachments would merely be to confirm what we already know about him, and wouldn't lend the movie much closure- whereas it's conceivable that Pacino may actually change in some meaningful way.

As far as the serial killer thing goes- I think it's kind a cheap move, since it's a way to make us like DeNiro and crew more just by making the other guy more cartoonishly criminal, but I do think it adds to the tone and world of the movie. For one thing, without that, Pacino's respect for DeNiro seems out of place; with it, we get an idea that perhaps DeNiro's code, however ruthless, does keep him from being the worst kind of thing there is.

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Re: Michael Mann

#42 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:55 pm

matrixschmatrix wrote:DeNiro was more or less a sociopath
No he isn't. Forming attachments, among other things, is something sociopaths don't do. A sociopath, for instance, would not have saved Siherlis from the gunfight and taken him to a doctor. If there is a sociopath in the movie, it's Waingro.

One of the main thematic points in the movie is that McCauley's loner-code is not actually sustainable. McCauley, despite his pretense, is very lonely, and that loneliness causes his pretense to finally crack: he reaches out to someone and tries to form a relationship, tho' one that isn't sustainable, either (when you can only truly open up to your enemy, not your girlfriend, there's a problem). Not only that, but McCauley can't follow his own code when it comes to Waingro. He's unable to let that man's crimes go unavenged, and that's his downfall. He just can't pretend that the loss of his current life and the death of most of his crew (including the awful death of Danny Trejo and his girlfriend) has no affect on him, that Waingro doesn't deserve some kind of justice. McCauley is not, in fact, a sociopath who can drop all attachments.

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Re: Michael Mann

#43 Post by TedW » Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:02 pm

matrixschmatrix wrote:DeNiro was more or less a sociopath, and I don't think he would be particularly haunted by a situation where he kept to his code and got out cleanly. That ending works for Michael because Micheal, when we first see him, is a decent man with a functional conscience; the arc of the first movie is him compromising it to be on a level with his father, and the arc of the second his him going beyond anything his father would ever have done. In the end, he has excised anything that made him human, and he has become a dead thing, for all that his body is still alive. It's not dissimilar to the arc of Ivan the Terrible.

That doesn't work in Heat, because DeNiro is a cold hearted, calculating man who's good at what he does and keeps to his code. That's it. As you observe, there's no real moral dimension to him, and while he's capable of forming attachments, the ideology we see him stick to consistently pushes him to believe that the ability to dissolve those attachments at a moment's notice is a virtuous one. To go back to a place of no attachments would merely be to confirm what we already know about him, and wouldn't lend the movie much closure- whereas it's conceivable that Pacino may actually change in some meaningful way.

As far as the serial killer thing goes- I think it's kind a cheap move, since it's a way to make us like DeNiro and crew more just by making the other guy more cartoonishly criminal, but I do think it adds to the tone and world of the movie. For one thing, without that, Pacino's respect for DeNiro seems out of place; with it, we get an idea that perhaps DeNiro's code, however ruthless, does keep him from being the worst kind of thing there is.
Yeah, it's like, these guys we invite you to like are actually really awful -- we better offset that with somebody who's even really awful-ier.

All fair points.

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Re: Michael Mann

#44 Post by TedW » Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:05 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
matrixschmatrix wrote:DeNiro was more or less a sociopath
No he isn't. Forming attachments, among other things, is something sociopaths don't do. A sociopath, for instance, would not have saved Siherlis from the gunfight and taken him to a doctor. If there is a sociopath in the movie, it's Waingro.

One of the main thematic points in the movie is that McCauley's loner-code is not actually sustainable. McCauley, despite his pretense, is very lonely, and that loneliness causes his pretense to finally crack: he reaches out to someone and tries to form a relationship, tho' one that isn't sustainable, either (when you can only truly open up to your enemy, not your girlfriend, there's a problem). Not only that, but McCauley can't follow his own code when it comes to Waingro. He's unable to let that man's crimes go unavenged, and that's his downfall. He just can't pretend that the loss of his current life and the death of most of his crew (including the awful death of Danny Trejo and his girlfriend) has no affect on him, that Waingro doesn't deserve some kind of justice. McCauley is not, in fact, a sociopath who can drop all attachments.
Careful not to dig around in the dirt too much; you may find that the ending of the movie totally unravels if you do. He can walk out on Eadie in 30 seconds but not Waingro? Does that track with what Mann wants us to believe/feel about this character? I'm gonna leave it alone, 'cause I like this movie...

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Re: Michael Mann

#45 Post by matrixschmatrix » Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:12 pm

Sausage, you're right, of course, and I think it would be difficult to build a movie around someone who legitimately had no emotional response or attachments; I should have said that he aspires to be a sociopath, or something approaching it, and he's closer to that state at the beginning of the movie than he is at the end (I think the answer to TedW's objection there is that DeNiro's become unmoored and is whipping around instead of behaving consistently, due in part to the increasing awareness that he does have emotional connections.)

My point is just that I don't think an ending in which he drops everything and gets away would be haunting, either to him or to us as an audience; he's certainly someone with only a minimum of attachment, and while I think he would probably start to form them again if he managed to get away, I don't think he would spend a lot of time looking back or regretting what had happened.

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Re: Michael Mann

#46 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:09 pm

TedW wrote:Careful not to dig around in the dirt too much; you may find that the ending of the movie totally unravels if you do. He can walk out on Eadie in 30 seconds but not Waingro? Does that track with what Mann wants us to believe/feel about this character? I'm gonna leave it alone, 'cause I like this movie...
I think his decision to try to take Edie with him in the first place is a telling violation of his code. Presumably, now that he had something in his life, he despaired of going back to his earlier nothing. As to why he leaves her in the car, I don't take that as an example of McCauley fulfilling his code. I'd say there are a number of possible reasons why he leaves her, not the least of which being that it plain isn't possible to both take her along and escape--so either way, he had to lose her (either escape or jail/death).

I also read that as the moment he finally admits that, despite what he had foolishly hoped, a happy life of loving companionship isn't possible for him; his life, who he is, would inevitably have come between them. Maybe he also doesn't want her to drag her any deeper into this life of violence and flight. So he lets her go. These latter bits are debatable, of course, but I'll stand by the fact that the moment is one of loss and defeat, not a victory for the code. I think the moment would've occurred even if McCauley had not expressed his little rule.
matrixschmatrix wrote:My point is just that I don't think an ending in which he drops everything and gets away would be haunting, either to him or to us as an audience; he's certainly someone with only a minimum of attachment, and while I think he would probably start to form them again if he managed to get away, I don't think he would spend a lot of time looking back or regretting what had happened.
I like the ending as it is, too, although given my reading of the moment he leaves Edie, I could see that other possible ending working the way the above poster explained, with McCauley having given up on the idea of companionship and returned to the bleak, spacious solitude we see him in at the beginning of the movie (with all those lonely shots of empty rooms).

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Re: Michael Mann

#47 Post by TedW » Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:18 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:I think his decision to try to take Edie with him in the first place is a telling violation of his code.
Yes.
Mr Sausage wrote:Presumably, now that he had something in his life, he despaired of going back to his earlier nothing. As to why he leaves her in the car, I don't take that as an example of McCauley fulfilling his code...
Oh, no. Absolutely not. And I say that because this isn't a matter of subjective interpretation -- the entire movie is building to this moment of him fulfilling the much-vaunted code at great personal, and unexpected, cost. The whole movie hangs on this moment, emotionally. I don't think it could be clearer.

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Re: Michael Mann

#48 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:59 pm

TedW wrote:Oh, no. Absolutely not. And I say that because this isn't a matter of subjective interpretation -- the entire movie is building to this moment of him fulfilling the much-vaunted code at great personal, and unexpected, cost. The whole movie hangs on this moment, emotionally. I don't think it could be clearer.
Well, no, the whole movie has been building to Hanna and McCauley facing off, alone. McCauley's relationship has certainly been building to the moment he has to leave her--that's easy enough to see--but the moment when he actually does is considerably more complicated than him just giving into his code. Indeed, we've been watching him break it for quite a while by that point. Had he left her at a moment in which he could still have reasonably taken her along, we would've seen his vaunted "discipline" and understood that she was a casualty of it. That it happens at a moment when his hand is forced and the situation makes it pretty impossible to take her rather shows that the drama of it is in McCauley having to give her up in spite of his determination to break his code and build a life with her. We see in fact his professional life destroying, in spite of his hopes otherwise, his one moment to no longer be alone, and that's written on his face when he leaves.

TedW
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Re: Michael Mann

#49 Post by TedW » Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:09 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
TedW wrote:Oh, no. Absolutely not. And I say that because this isn't a matter of subjective interpretation -- the entire movie is building to this moment of him fulfilling the much-vaunted code at great personal, and unexpected, cost. The whole movie hangs on this moment, emotionally. I don't think it could be clearer.
Well, no, the whole movie has been building to Hanna and McCauley facing off, alone. McCauley's relationship has certainly been building to the moment he has to leave her--that's easy enough to see--but the moment when he actually does is considerably more complicated than him just giving into his code. Indeed, we've been watching him break it for quite a while by that point. Had he left her at a moment in which he could still have reasonably taken her along, we would've seen his vaunted "discipline" and understood that she was a casualty of it. That it happens at a moment when his hand is forced and the situation makes it pretty impossible to take her rather shows that the drama of it is in McCauley having to give her up in spite of his determination to break his code and build a life with her. We see in fact his professional life destroying, in spite of his hopes otherwise, his one moment to no longer be alone, and that's written on his face when he leaves.
Wow, we just see this totally differently and that's that. I don't think your read is supported by the text at all. In fact, if that is what Mann is trying to do (and I don't think it is), then the movie is a failure of dramaturgy, which is why I say don't root around too deeply for meaning, the whole thing will fall apart. Your conception of the story is actually better than the one presented, though.

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Re: Michael Mann

#50 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:10 pm

TedW wrote:
Mr Sausage wrote:
TedW wrote:Oh, no. Absolutely not. And I say that because this isn't a matter of subjective interpretation -- the entire movie is building to this moment of him fulfilling the much-vaunted code at great personal, and unexpected, cost. The whole movie hangs on this moment, emotionally. I don't think it could be clearer.
Well, no, the whole movie has been building to Hanna and McCauley facing off, alone. McCauley's relationship has certainly been building to the moment he has to leave her--that's easy enough to see--but the moment when he actually does is considerably more complicated than him just giving into his code. Indeed, we've been watching him break it for quite a while by that point. Had he left her at a moment in which he could still have reasonably taken her along, we would've seen his vaunted "discipline" and understood that she was a casualty of it. That it happens at a moment when his hand is forced and the situation makes it pretty impossible to take her rather shows that the drama of it is in McCauley having to give her up in spite of his determination to break his code and build a life with her. We see in fact his professional life destroying, in spite of his hopes otherwise, his one moment to no longer be alone, and that's written on his face when he leaves.
Wow, we just see this totally differently and that's that. I don't think your read is supported by the text at all. In fact, if that is what Mann is trying to do (and I don't think it is), then the movie is a failure of dramaturgy, which is why I say don't root around too deeply for meaning, the whole thing will fall apart. Your conception of the story is actually better than the one presented, though.
I don't see how it's a failure of dramaturgy. On the contrary, it's a good example of the ironic arc, where the thing we expected to happen does indeed happen, but happens after the character decided to avoid it. It's fulfilled, but not in the expected way. The expected way would be for McCauley to walk out on her right after the foiled heist. It is, I think, more dramatically satisfying for McCauley to be forced to fulfill his code after he's decided he values the relationship more.

I do think the movie supports it and I gave a good reason: he's already abandoned the code just taking her in the first place, and his hand is forced at the end when the movie could've had him dump her earlier when he still had a legitimate chance of taking her along (with only some added risk).

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