"...the main purpose of criticism...is not to make its readers agree, nice as that is, but to make them, by whatever orthodox or unorthodox method, think." - John Simon

"The great enemy of clear language is insincerity." - George Orwell

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Images of Isolation

Jeremy Richey over at the Moon in the Gutter blog tagged me with a meme that has been making the rounds. It originally asked that we assemble "a gallery of images ... to stand for so much of what makes Cinema such a rich and exciting medium." This meme began at the Checking on My Sausages blog with MovieMan0283 over at his The Dancing Image blog championing this meme. So, what was the theme that picked? Well, continuing with the Michael Mann vibe from my previous post on Thief, I've decided to pick images from Mann's films that show his protagonists isolated. Almost always, they are loners or people who, often by choice, are apart from others. It wasn't easy picking stills from certain films as the composition of frames are so beautifully shot but here we go.

Here are the rules for the meme if you choose to participate as copied partially from Moon in the Gutter:

1. Pick as many pictures as you want - but make them screen-captures. These need to be moments that speak to you that perhaps haven't been represented as stills before.

2. Pick a theme, any theme.

3. You MUST link to Stephen's original gallery (see above) and my post if I am tagging you and you choose to participate.

4. Tag five blogs.

Here are the five bloggers that I would like to tag (my apologies if you have already):
Sean Gill over at Junta Juleil's Culture Shock
John Kenneth Muir over at John Kenneth Muir's Reflections on Film/TV
le0pard13 over at Lazy Thoughts from a Boomer
Kevin J. Olson over at Hugo Stiglitz Makes Movies
The Sci-Fi Fanatic over at Musings of a Sci-Fi Fanatic
Thief (1981)
The Keep (1983)

Manhunter (1986)

The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

Heat (1995)

The Insider (1999)

Ali (2001)

Collateral (2004)

Miami Vice (2006)

Public Enemies (2009)


  1. Those are awesome JD. Thanks so much for participating and linking back.

  2. First off, congrats for being selected. Your chosen images are some great ones (those by Michael Mann, especially the blue-hued one from HEAT, are inspired). And thanks for tagging me (I'm in great company, too). I'll start my gathering ;-).

  3. JD.

    Once again JD, an honor to be placed in this company. Thanks for thinking of me.

    It will be a pleasure to partake in this fun concept. You are really speaking to me on this one because I love visuals and identify with images in such a profound way. Perhaps it was growing up as part of the MTV generation. Anyway, I have a strong reaction to visuals and generally take so much away from them. I'll try not to let you down.

    I loved your selection. Wonderful little moments of reflection. While on the subject of Mann's work and his signature theme I must tell you I've enjoyed many of his productions. My favorite is still The Insider. I love that film. It really made Crowe a star too.

    Anyway, look forward to putting something together JD. Cheers.

  4. Jeremy Richey:

    Thanks! I was more than happy to participate but I tell ya it was hard picking a theme and then finding the right screengrabs!


    I'm glad you liked the images I picked. The HEAT one was a no-brainer but it was hard finding a decent one for THE KEEP! I am really curious to see what your take on this meme will be!

    The Sci-Fi Fanatic:

    You are more than welcome, sir! I look forward to your take on this meme.

    Like yourself, THE INSIDER is my fave Mann film and I would argue his masterpiece, just edging out HEAT. Crowe really nailed it in this film and I think that he has yet to equal his level of performance in this film.

  5. Terrific set of stills, J.D. Great idea for a unifying theme and a testament to Mann's genius as a visual poet.

  6. JD.

    I'm just saying. I did not know The Insider was your favorite. We have much in common my friend. You have great taste too. : ^ ) I couldn't agree with you more. I think it was Crowe finest moment of many fine performances, but he is brilliant here. A classic.

    I hope to read your review of Thief soon.

  7. J.D.: Your images of isolation from the cinema of Mann are inspiring. Gorgeous work.

    I'm trying to think of something good to follow up with! :)

    thank you,

    John K. Muir

  8. This is really cool. I love the images you chose to feature.

  9. Neil Fulwood:

    Thanks, Neil! I really love the visuals in Mann's films and so doing this meme seemed like a no-brainer in conveying my appreciation for his skill as a filmmaker.

    The Sci-Fi Fanatic:

    Great minds think alike, eh? ; )

    Oh, I could ramble on for hours about why I love THE INSIDER so much and why I think it's Mann's masterpiece. In short, I think its the best convergence of Mann's thematic preoccupations with his distinctive visual style. There is just the right mix.

    John Kenneth Muir:

    Thanks, JKM! I look forward to whatever you come up with.


    Thanks, Keith! I'm glad you dug it.

  10. I love the color scheme - there's a nice pattern here. That Public Enemies image really jumps out at you. I haven't seen it, and didn't think the visuals looked especially appealing from whatever snippets/images I caught, but now I'm intrigued.

  11. P.S. can you add my link to the post? Aside from purely selfish purposes, I want to invite participants to comment under that post so that I'll know they participated and can add their links to the growing collection at the end of the post. Thanks - and thanks again for jumping in!

    (Btw I'm enjoying your and Bob's conversation re: action films under the Star Wars post!)

  12. MovieMan0283:

    I have added a link to your post. Thanks for reminding me about that and for stopping by.

    And yes, I am really enjoying the conversation with Bob about action films. It has me rethinking my stance on a few films.

  13. It's an honor to be chosen, J.D.!- of course the knee-jerk reaction is something like "the most hideous leering grins/cardigan sweaters in Michael Ironside films," but I'll definitely have to put some thought into this. (And you've chosen some quite excellent, evocative images for Mann!)

  14. Sean Gill:

    Thank you my friend. Well, I was kinda hoping you'd go for the Ironside themed post... or maybe the many sides of Powers Boothe. So many options!

  15. Beautiful gallery. I especially love the Public Enemies one because he is only isolated in his mind (he's surrounded by people). A great actor can pull that off.

    I consider myself a massive Michael Mann fan yet. . .I've never seen or heard of The Keep. What's it about?

  16. Beautiful picks that really show how Mann is indeed a visual poet,with his images more telling than long useless speeches!

    I love the final shot of THIEF...the lonely Caan disappearing in the night...a so tragic fate!

    Great choice for MANHUNTER,and the closing and ending shots of HEAT are also memorable!

    I liked your choices for MIAMI VICE and PUBLIC ENEMIES,the opening and closing shots of MIAMI VICE are especially striking.

    And last but not the least...ALI...i really liked your choice,this scene is very well written and acted,moving,i like how Mann closes the scene,leaving the poor Bundini alone in the room,his face reflecting in the mirror...

  17. Will:

    Thank you! Yeah, I had a real time finding a good for PUBLIC ENEMIES but that one was particularly striking, esp. the camera angle that Mann used.

    As for THE KEEP that was Mann's ill-fated attempt at making a horror film. It's very loosely based on F. Paul Wilson's novel of the same name about a group of German soldiers that inhabit an ancient fortress in a small European village during World War II. They foolishly unleash an ancient evil and all hell breaks loose.

    It was not an easy shoot, plagued by all kinds of production problems only for the studio to hack it down to a version that was very comprehensible. It's an interesting failure in that it has some cool visuals but narratively speaking it's a bit of a mess.


    Thank you for the compliments!

    I love that final shot from THIEF as well. It sums up the film and Frank's worldview so well.

    I also agree with you about the opening and closing shots of MIAMI VICE. Such a visually compelling film. And yes, ALI is a such visually striking film and for someone who is so popular, Mann really shows how isolated Ali was at times.

  18. Thank you for sharing the great list of movie. I love the film thief very much. I watched it last night once again and enjoyed it equally as the last time...