When you do see a Michael Mann movie, you can expect several things.
You know that the cinematography is going to be fantastic, with broad, sweeping shots and breathtaking framing. The nighttime sky shots of LA in “Collateral” and the mountain panoramas in “Last of the Mohicans” will bring tears to your eyes.
You know that the actors will be mercilessly drilled in their characters. Tom Cruise had to memorize a complete background on his assassin in “Collateral”, right down to pictures of the house he grew up in. Michael Mann then made Cruise do UPS deliveries in character. If he was recognized as Tom Cruise by the people getting the deliveries, he wasn’t ready for the part yet.
Jamie Foxx drove around with LA cabdrivers for a couple of weeks to learn the minutiae of the part.
You know that fighting skills will be true-to-life and top-notch. Mick Gould, of the British Special Air Service, is one of Michael Mann’s favourite trainers and any number of police instructors happily help Michael Mann on his films.
I’ve also been told that Michael, himself, has taken firearms training and has an instructors certification, but I don’t have solid proof on that.
You know that the background colours will have specific meanings. A scene suffused with blue light or a blue background will represent safety for the characters; while green or red will show danger and death.
You know that the music will be cutting-edge and beautiful, and the architecture will take your breath away.
You know that the movie will explore the bonds between people; and you know that at the end of the movie, the Good Guys will win, and the Bad Guys will lose.
With the exceptions of “Miami Vice” and “The Keep”, a Michael Mann movie is always a good choice.