or “The Passion of the Mann: When grounded obsession becomes unbridled schizophrenia.” or “Brace yourselves, people, this one’s a long one.”
Dear Mr. Michael Mann,
Your name, for many, conjures up images of some of the best directing and acting and cinematography of our time; conjures images of an exacting genius, checking everything from the position of the largest HMI (light) in a shot to what type of belt buckle the man in the fifth row two seats to the left is wearing, you know, beside the woman with the plaid skirt whose dress is two sizes too large, but “Why care about that?” the crew asks, “They won’t even be seen.” But you, sir, you know that isn’t the point: the point is getting it right. The point…is making sure it all works…or we may suddenly fail to ensure even some of it works.
Your name conjures images of, as does the director in the last letter I wrote, a genius utilizing the latest technological gear in the best ways possible, to give audiences a glimpse of what true genius can do with the right tools. But…therein lies the reason and moment where, sir, I feel you so unceremoniously went completely and unequivocally “off-the-tracks”.
I am a fan of yours, Mr. Mann…a very vociferous fan of early Michael Mann. The Michael Mann of Thief and of Manhunter and of Last of the Mohicans. But my feelings are now tempered with the reservation one feels when they get excited that Uncle Chet is coming over for dinner. It’s the: “Man, I love Uncle Chet, but does he really have to make those farting sounds with his arm when I’m on the phone with _______, and why is he drinking that listerine out of the bottle?”
Whenever I hear you have a new movie coming out now, sir, I think: “Wow, I’m really looking forward to the new Michael Mann picture, but, jeez…how many shots of a taxi and the city are we going to have to endure again, just so he can show off the digital technology he’s using? Where’s the tight pacing and hard-driving narrative of his earlier writing? And can someone please ask Mr. Mann to have his cameraman back-up? What the hell happened to the brilliant widescreen framing of his earlier pictures?”