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The first thing you notice about Michael Mann's Heat is that it's all long lenses.
In a widescreen, 23 by 9 format, meant to allow for a broad scope so that you can see more
Mann crowds his subjects into the frame, as if you're always watching them on a stakeout
from some hidden vantage on the building opposite.
The telephoto lens is really the perfect lens for this film.
It has the effect of keeping everything at a distance
while at the same time separating people from the background
while also, at the same time, turning the background into an almost liquid plane of lights
evoking that fantastical romance that is always found in noir
and which Michael Mann sees in the sprawl of Los Angeles.
This is all to say that the telephoto lens is both functional and stylistic in Heat
two words that could be used to describe the driving ethos behind Mann's work.
Of course, style is never something Michael Mann has been accused of lacking.
In fact, it's likely accusations of empty stylistics from the days of Miami Vice
that made Mann insist that Heat wasn't a genre film at all
but a drama, drawn from the stories of a real-life detective who served as a consultant on the film.
And it's true, the procedural and mundane elements of police and criminal activity
are painstakingly rendered in Heat.
And there's a pride in the fact that the locations are real locations in LA.
This was an actual cardboard community on Terminal Island.
This train that DeNiro gets out of is the real Blue Line of the Los Angeles MTA
and his house is a real house in Malibu, by the sea.
But Mann can't hide his knack for, and devotion to, style.
The three locations I mentioned may be real places
but it's not an accident that in the first, a giant mound of yellow sulphur gives the space a dreamlike quality.
Or that the train platform feels both alien and alienating
And as for DeNiro's home, what could call attention to itself more than this blue-suffused box of loneliness
cribbed from Alex Colville's 1967 painting "Pacific"
In other words, despite Michael Mann's protestations that this is not a genre piece
Heat is clearly drawing from both crime and noir traditions.
What makes the film brilliant is that it uses its style and realism to comment on each other
and in doing so, updates the genre for a new age.
A lot of this is done through sound in the film, by the great work in Chris Jenkins' sound design
and Elliot Goldenthal's score.
The interplay is established right at the start, as Goldenthal's spacey, highly stylized score
fades into the hyperreal sounds of a hospital.
And that exchange is in the soundtrack, too.
For the scene where Pacino chases down DeNiro on the highway, Mann uses a Joy Division song called "New Dawn Fades"
that has a driving rhythm that fits the moment perfectly
But what I just played? That's actually not the song used in the movie.
Mann commissioned a cover of "New Dawn Fades" by the electronic artist Moby
who super adds to this functional moment a layer of pure style.
Listen to the difference it makes.
Since its beginning, there has been a tension in film noir between realism and style.
Its origins in black and white and harsh chiaroscuro lighting attempted to communicate a gritty realism.
But in this lighting and in the implicitly abstract nature of black and white, it created a style all its own.
Its values, however, were always traditional.
From the start, noir has investigated the way men construct their identities from what they do.
That reflected the broad scope of men in the early 20th century, not just cops and robbers.
But the rise of postmodern consumerist culture, of new ways to build identity that weren't from one's career or one's relationships
made the crime film's association with style more problematic, but also more necessary.
Mann confronts this head-on with DeNiro and Pacino's characters.
DeNiro's style, his slick suits, his minimal, empty house, reflect his lifestyle of extreme professionalism
matched in the actual yuppie culture of the 80s, when the film was first conceived.
Pacino, too, is placed in the actual home of postmodern architect Thom Mayne, in Santa Monica.
Mann knows that to communicate with contemporary audiences
to make a crime noir that is fresh and looks forward
these stylistic choices have to be present.
Modern audiences firmly entrenched in this culture register style. They speak themselves through style.
And it's through this attention to style that Heat can finally level a critique on its own culture.
In the end, DeNiro and Pacino ultimately reject these new forms of identity construction.
"You can lounge around here on her sofa, in her ex-husband's dead tech postmodernistic bullshit house if you want to..."
They fall back on traditional methods. Pacino looks to his work, and DeNiro looks to relationships.
"All I know is, there's no point in me going anywhere any more if it's gonna be alone."
In this way, Michael Mann's attention to style and score and soundtrack
and lenses and locations and wardrobe and lighting
and his attention to realism in all those same categories
serve to illustrate a new social environment as well as its drawbacks.
And that's what film noir was always meant to do at its best:
show the underside of culture and why it's a necessary extension of the reverse.
In fact, it may be the case in our modern culture that when the two sides are put face to face
they don't look all that different.
Hey everybody, thanks for watching. Heat is one of the best crime thrillers of all time, no question about that.
Um, I just want to say that 2015 has been the best year of my life.
You guys have helped me expand this channel to something that I never could have imagined.
The fact that I get to do this full-time is just beyond my wildest dreams.
I believe in this channel so much and the work that's happening here
and I really believe that, to exist in 2016 and beyond, it has to innovate and experiment and do new things
and that is what I'm looking forward to doing and looking forward to giving to you.
Um, there's a really special relationship between the people who watch this channel
pledge to this channel on my Patreon page, um, and me
because there's nothing in between us, and that's a model that I talk about after every video
but one that I really, really, really, REALLY believe in
because this content is not diluted by any corporation or any brand or anything like that
and that's, I think, really special, um, and I think, a new model for the way that content can be.
So, um, I just wanted to say thank you for 2015. You guys have been awesome.
If you do want to pledge you can click right there and go to my Patreon page.
Um, I will see you guys next Wednesday in 2016 and hopefully an exciting year to come.


Heat :寫實主義與風格的完美結合 (Heat: The Perfect Blend of Realism and Style)

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Ken Chang 發佈於 2017 年 7 月 8 日
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