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Miami Vice (2006)

Miami Vice is one of the great stylistic triumphs of recent years, a quality that is sure to earn it just as many – if not more – detractors than supporters. First things first: any relationship to the 80’s television series of the same name is as incidental as the shared names of conservative parents who have disowned their radical offspring. Names, locations and some slight nods aside, this Miami Vice is a being all its own, like a prolonged episode of Cops, under the influence, and incredibly in tune to the emotions and textures of its characters and their lives. While not unlike Heat’s existential deconstruction of the cops and robbers relationship, Miami Vice assumes a less epic stance, opted for a more fluid narrative that savors each moments rather than indulging in the trends of the crime genre that wore out their welcome long ago. Vice packs a wallop, albeit of the techno and rhythm type, the ethereal beauty of the nighttime Miami cityscape providing a stunning contrast to Farrell and Foxx’s silent, knowing gazes while the sights and sounds intertwine to create a sensual ambiance. More than anything, the film is aware of the performance-driven nature of its characters’ line of undercover work, their personal and professional duties often clashing both silently and violently. Mann’s aesthetic is certainly no travel brochure for the city, but it contains an almost alien beauty nonetheless. When the film finally rolls around to a big shoot-out, the technical approach has been so effectively stripped down that the gritty gunshots and ricochets – more like something out of an 80’s exploitation film, when gunshots still had personality – are more enthralling than any souped up Michael Bay film can ever hope to be.