is an acclaimed filmmaker, writer and producer. He's best known for his work in television (notably Miami Vice
) and in the genre of crime drama, often taking place in cities
which are explored in loving detail.
He's a major proponent of digital cinematography, having shot Collateral
, Miami Vice
and Public Enemies
with High-Definition video cameras rather than 35mm film cameras. His visual style and action sequences are equally famous and distinctive.
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His filmography includes:
Tropes common in his work include:
- All There in the Manual: A lot of character traits are explained in depth on the DVD commentary or in detailed character profiles he writes for the cast.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: John Dillinger being only the latest. His antagonists generally wear nice suits.
- Bittersweet Ending / Downer Ending
- Byronic Hero
- Cool Guns
- Dyeing for Your Art: His actors are extensively trained on how to use the firearms they use onscreen.
- Electronic Music: Notably by Tangerine Dream, and often used as long soundscapes rather than to intensify action.
- Film Noir: Much of his work leans heavily into this—especially Miami Vice (The Movie, more so than the show), Crime Story, Heat, Collateral, and Public Enemies.
- Grey and Grey Morality / Black and Grey Morality: Only Collateral shows a stark difference between the antagonist and protagonist. His other films? Not as much.
- The Lost Lenore
- Production Posse: His usual go-to cinematographers are Dante Spinotti and Dion Beebe. Dennis Farina also tended to show up in his films.
- Shown Their Work: Regarding the law's enforcement, its breaking, and his settings. Heat in particular is very accurate in how the actors handle their firearms. Blackhat is also notable in this regard, being rather accurate in its portrayal of computer security.
- Signature Style: He favours a minimalistic composition shape and color-wise, shallow focus and color coding to focus the viewer's attention on important elements; for example, he uses water and the color blue to convey calm and melancholy.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Always on the cynical side.
- The Stoic: A lot of his characters, if they're not Byronic Heroes, they're this.
- Vice City