Miami Vice Reviews
Miami Vice is an outstanding movie. The more often I watch it, the more I like it. The acting performances are excellent across the board and Mann does a superb job capturing the palpable tension on the screen and the dangers faced by Crockett (Farrell) and Rico (Foxx). The gunfight at the end of the movie is mesmerizing. The New York Times voted it one of the top 50 movies so far of the 21st century, for crying out loud. I would put Miami Vice in the top 20, that's how excellent it is.
But where has gone the existential dialogue of Heat? Where has gone the audience's quandary in truly feeling for amoral, even immoral, characters--the challenge we so readily accepted in both Heat and Collateral? Where has gone substance?
The answer is that for Vice, style is the substance. Insight caves to sensualism to focus on what we see and hear. With Mann's craftsmanship, sensualism is often entertaining. His atmospherics are flawless. His soundscapes thrust us into the middle of events--but this sensualism is not enough to lift Vice to masterpiece. Its story needs characters that propel the story, not a story that propels the characters, and that is the vice of Vice. Events travel along and we feel they would occur with or without the hand of their participating agents.
The acting convinces, but there is little for the stars to act with. And yet the film is so visually and audibly breathtaking, it must be considered above the pale of most films of its genre. In sum, even with Mann at the helm, craftsmanship is no replacement for genius. Miami Vice is a lesser painting from a proven master.