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Episode 01: Michael Mann

Featuring Keith Uhlich


Click here to listen on a new page.

From the intro:
“Director Michael Mann has lived many lives. His career started with the 1979 TV movie The Jericho Mile, immediately moved into comfortably pulpy material with 1981’s crime thriller Thief, and even waded into atmospheric b-horror territory with 1983’s The Keep. Always with one foot deep into the world of television, Mann reinvented the serial drama with Miami Vice in 1984, a series which carried an attitude that would affect all heavyweight television today as well as Mann’s own later work. Though he could play the high-profile Hollywood game with big-budget pictures The Last of the Mohicans, Heat, and Ali, Mann is now known for defying the Hollywood look, even in those films, and placing his own brand of visual and tonal experimentation over pulp material. 2004’s Collateral brought digital filmmaking out of the festival circuit and into common practice. 2006’s Miami Vice now stands as a cult classic among many cinephiles, its moody dialogue and neon photography communicating something that most neo-noir films have never touched. 2009’s Public Enemies and 2015’s Blackhat remain divisive among cinephiles but well-loved by many acolytes as Mann’s rough digital look is still undeniably there despite the improvements made to the medium. You’ll know a Michael Mann film when you see it.”

“The way in is usually through the amygdala, not the cerebral cortex.”

– Michael Mann

“My life’s a disaster zone. I got a stepdaughter so fucked up because her real father’s this large-type asshole. I got a wife, we’re passing each other on the down-slope of a marriage – my third – because I spend all my time chasing guys like you around the block. That’s my life.”

– Vincent Hanna in Heat

“Criminals do not die by the hands of the law. They die by the hands of other men.”

Man and Superman by George Bernard Shaw

Guest Keith Uhlich is a member of the New York Film Critics’ Circle and has written for Slant Magazine, Time Out New York, The Hollywood Reporter, The AV Club, BBC, Reverse Shot, and many other publications.

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The painting above is Alex Colville’s Pacific (1967).


Title Year
The Jericho Mile 1979
Thief 1981
The Keep 1983
Manhunter 1986
L.A. Takedown 1989
The Last of the Mohicans 1992
Heat 1995
The Insider 1999
Ali 2001
Collateral 2004
Miami Vice 2006
Public Enemies 2009
Blackhat 2015

1 Comment so far

  1. Mars

    Thanks for a great episode. It was refreshing to hear a more sober discussion on Mann, particularly his late era works, which Uhlich discusses with an appreciation of art and a more expansive understanding of form than someone like Tony Zhou, who just rabidly spits out consensus talking points from conventional (and rote) teachings of filmmaking.

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