Monday, 13 April 2009

Gravity of the Flux: Michael Mann’s Miami Vice

There are not that many intelligent write ups available on Mann's underestimated movie, Miami Vice. Here is one that makes a lot of sense to me personally. With Miami Vice, my most personal journey, that somehow I could emotionally connect with, was this relationship between Sonny and Isabella. It was one of the most powerful and significant elements of the whole film. Whilst the very end of Miami Vice was rather disappointing, it was just before the end of the film that I actually found my most emotionally engaging scene. Isabella wistfully leaves the shores of Florida Keys (the actual location of that scene) on a boat. It was a beautiful, brilliantly acted and shot "moment". I found a great essay about Miami Vice, which I want to share with you. I quote below one interpretation, which relates in particular to that closing scene. I agree with the author's comments. What do you think?

The film closes as abruptly as it opened: Isabella escapes from the flux by the sea (the eternal utopia of Mann’s characters): “It’s magic”, says a fisherman about the sea near the beginning of Thief (1981), Sonny turns his back on the sea and returns to the flux. And loses himself therein. Life suspended on one side, perpetual flux on the other. No dead time or respite: the system runs at full speed but on empty, and possesses no other end than that of its own stability. To such an extent that one could, like Isabella, pass one’s entire life there: “It’s all that I know how to do; I’ve been doing that since I was 17”, she tells Sonny when the latter questions her on the possibility of an elsewhere, of an alternative life. The only thing that counts is the global balance of the system and its capacity to restore the unchanging order of things (disappearance of Jesus Montoya/death of Jose Yero, disappearance of Isabella/reappearance of Trudy, etc.). At bottom, between the beginning and the end of the film, nothing has changed. Like Frank (James Caan) at the end of Thief or Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) in the last shot of The Insider, Sonny recedes in depth of the field, with his back to us, and disappears. In the world in flux that Miami Vice follows, the human is only an event, a lost atom in the multitude, similar to the one described by the hired killer in Collateral. It is either arrogance and/or naïveté of the couple, Sonny-Isabella, to have believed that the human could be stronger than the flux.

See the full article here >