Miami Vice - Dir. Michael Mann, 2006
Miami Vice, Michael Mann’s adaptation/modernization of the seminal 1980s TV series he produced is the movie that made me want to be a film student. I wrote it up at Letterboxd.
Mann does action really, really well. He does people even better. Miami Vice is as much about the way people relate to each other in the modern world as it is a group of vice cops’ investigation into a Columbian drug cartel. That’s why most of the screenshots I picked to showcase the film focus on the ways people move around each other.
I: Sonny and Rico on the Job
Miami Vice opens in media res as vice cops Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs lead a sting operation on a pimp named Neptune. Sonny and Rico case the club, each trusting the other to do their job.
II: Meeting with Jose Yero and Isabella
Undercover as smugglers, Sonny and Rico meet with the Columbian cartel intelligence operator Jose Yero. Yero pushes the cops, who push back. The meeting escalates to the point where grenades are armed before Isabella, Yero’s superior, intervenes.
III: Yero Envies Sonny and Isabella
Sonny invites Isabella out for a drink. She suggests they take his boat to Cuba, her home country. Yero, who lusts after Isabella, envies Sonny and resents both of them for undermining his power, watches them go.
IV-VII: Sonny and Isabella’s Brief Escape
Sonny and Isabella’s drink turns into a weekend in Havana. The drink leads to dancing. The dancing leads to their going to bed together. The morning after leads to bonding, and a full-fledged romance. Both Sonny and Isabella are lonely people, and in each other they find a peer with whom they can enjoy the fantasy of a life that does not involve crime.
VIII: The End of the Dream
Everything has gone to hell. Yero’s vindictive streak and need to upstage Sonny puts Rico’s wife Trudy in a coma and gets Isabella stripped of her position and power. That in turn leads to a stand-off where Isabella learns that Sonny is an undercover cop. Sonny is able to get Isabella transport back to Cuba, where she can go to ground, but they will never see each other again. They spend their last minutes together talking about the inevitable end their shared fantasy has reached.
IX: Rico and Trudy
Trudy begins to come out of her coma, an immense relief to Rico, who has not left his partner’s bed except to participate in the takedown of Yero and his Neo-Nazi goon squad.
X: Sonny, Alone
Sonny arrives at the hospital where Trudy is recovering. He has suffered a loss, but he has also faced down his loneliness and decided to live through it. The other option is to weep for the loss of an impossible fantasy, and as painful life can be, it is better to live than be swallowed by the might have beens.
Los dragones son como los hijos, no se pueden domesticar
El original AQUÍ
Kevin Spacey and Mena Suvari in American Beauty (1999).
My all-time favorite film.
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