|04.15.10||Netflix|| Michael Mann. Aside from Oliver Stone I can't think of another director that makes me more excited for commentary tracks. Both directors are so articulate and exhaustive in their research and method that the joy I get from listening to them is always on par with the watching the movies they make. Sometimes even moreso.|
With this film I was listening to the commentary largely to answer one rather large question that I had with the film: what's up with the sound and picture. I found the acting to be stellar, the story to be familiar but authentic, the locations, costumes, props, and all of that completely immersive. It's just too bad it seemed like it was shot on a prosumer miniDV with the on-camera mic.
I'm familiar enough with Mann's methods to know it wasn't accidental so I'll have to qualify this as me not willing to accept a period movie shot this way as the correct choice instead of the filmmakers messing up or anything like that. I was just surprised by the lack of polish here. I guess after Miami Vice I knew deep down that we'd never get a Michael Mann movie shot like Heat or The Insider again, but at least Collateral and Miami Vice had beauty in it. Here, everything's desaturated and the constant hand-held makes it seem like the cameraman is standing on an anthill or something or moving around just to move around and the thing that really gets me is the sound. How the ambient traffic noise pops up whenever Depp says anything while riding in the car, like Mann would rather have that sloppy levelling than go into the ADR booth. blech!
So... it's another Michael Mann movie that I wish was better than it was. Perhaps there will be a director's cut some time that will give me occasion to revisit this. Billy Crudup was great.