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Watch: Michael Mann’s ‘Heat’ Is an Excellent Story Wrapped in Grander Technique

Watch: Michael Mann's 'Heat' Is an Excellent Story Wrapped in Grander Technique

Evan Puschak’s work in his newest ‘Nerdwriter’ installment, on style in Michael Mann’s ‘Heat,’ is fine and detailed. Puschak manages to separate the core of Mann’s L.A. noir tale from the technique Mann adds to it with the precision of someone carving meat away from the bones of a freshly cooked bird. One of the main points the piece makes about Mann’s work is that it is always a blend of what Puschak calls the “functional” and the “stylistic”: films that keep you watching through the relentless drive of their stories but have a sleek sheen over them that is unmistakably Mann’s. Puschak has also done his research, pointing out that one of the most famous images from the film, the silhouette shot from behind of DeNiro, looking out into an unbroken blue field (the promo photo for this post, in fact), is actually based on a 1964 painting by Alex Colville called “Pacific”–or that the entire film is based on the true tale of an L.A. detective named Neil McCauley. It’s always a pleasure to revisit Mann’s work, but it’s even more of a pleasure to see it so attentively examined.  

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