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Showing results for tags 'neo-noir'.
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First of all, let me tell you that I absolutely adore L.A. Takedown. I noticed there are two kinds of people when it comes to this movie; those who didn't like it (or downright hated it) because they find it dated, that the acting is truly horrible, two dimensional and because it didn't have a big budget and was made for tv. And there are those like myself who find it excellent, even better than Heat actually. I personally think it never received enough credit and therefor I wanted to start this threat and share my views on this highly underrated gem. I once read it was created as a possible follow up series to MV that never took off, but I cannot confirm this. L.A. Takedown is classic Michael Mann, in fact it has Michael Mann written all over it. It's a neo-noir / hardboiled cops and robbers story. Therefor it's no surprise that things are set In L.A - the dame of angels has since long been the backdrop of countless noir stories and movies. For those of you who may not be familiar with the noir genre, one of it's defining characteristics is that instead of shooting film in fabricated sets in a studio using cranes, dollies and expensive lighting setups, noir filmakers would often use real city backdrops with fairly inexpensive camera and lighting setups. Often working with much smaller budgets and smaller crews than full fledged Hollywood productions. Working that way they would also inadvertently and in retrospect leave a record of an era that was no more. We can already see that several boxes are being ticked when it comes to L.A. Takedown and noir: Real city backdrops - check! Small budget and crew - check! Testimony of a bygone era - check! That's not where it ends either, because of the small budget, filmmakers in the noir genre often would have to be much more creative in the way they bring the story to their audience. When shooting in black and white they would very often use techniques borrowed from classic art forms like expressionism. Underlining already dramatic storytelling by the use of intense visual contrast by pitch black shadows created by single point lighting as used by Italian renaissance painters called Chiaroscuro. The departure from noir into neo-noir would as is the case with L.A. Takedown be that instead of shooting in black and white with intense contrasts, they would shoot in color and use other visual tricks to enhance the story. And that's exactly where the genius of Micheal Mann emerges, right from the get go Mann introduces a subtle but clearly noticeable 'pace' in L.A. Takedown. Throughout the whole movie there's a "rhythm" skillfully created by blending all the required audio-visual ingredients. As we all know by now, Mann has this uncanny talent to use the right music at exactly the right moment. Yes, he even use a track from MV in one of the scenes - but then you must understand that it's his M.O. - Mann is known for his re-use of music (yes, even from other movies). But this pace is not only to be attributed by the use of music with the visuals or the way the scenes are skillfully entwined with for example fantastic areal night shots of LA skyscrapers , the whole time you can see it in the actors too - they are always moving! Even during what seems like small conversations they keep doing things or handling objects. Coincidence you think? I don't think so! If you pay attention you'll notice that there's a moment where this pace, this rhythm actually stops for a brief moment to further enhance and accentuate a pivotal moment in the movie, you guessed it; it's the epic coffee shop scene where both pro- and antagonist meet face to face. By the way, this larger than life confrontation is rumored to have actually really happened! What's more, I think the acting and general performance of all the actors is actually very sharp and to the point - some people have claimed it to be wooden or uni-dimensional, but forgive me for not agreeing at all, because I really don't know what they expected? To me playing it flat and not very colorful or expressive is exactly what is required for guys that spend their days doing what they do. There's some great dialogue in there too, so all in all I consider this a outstanding movie that has everything to be considered excellent.