I’m surprised he hasn’t been brought up yet. If this is already on the forum, I’ve missed it.
Personally I am not a “follower” but I am a fan of some of his work.
I would also call him an auteur before Ridley.
Crimson Tide is quite tense.Days of Thunder is a guilty pleasure.
I posted the latter into the Guilty Pleasure thread, and no one responded, which got me thinking,
“Seriously, no one’s with me on this?”
i like Tony Scott. Not everything, of course — but you look can look at some footage and not know if it belongs to Ridley Scott. Tony’s film reek of his cut-up, over-exposed style, which sometimes works magnificently and other times gets boring and annoying.
And, Days of Thunder — ouch — I can’t help you with that one, buddy.
I’m not a follower, either. I’ve never seen “Days of Thunder” or warmed up to “Top Gun.” But I’m with you on “Crimson Tide” and I think “Enemy of the State” is a sweet rollercoaster ride. Granted, I’d watch Gene Hackman do anything short of folding his laundry, but that film is a tidy little piece of work. Just perfect for those nights when “Three Days of the Condor” and “The Parallax View” leave you hungry for one more heaping bowl of paranoia.
What is with his hyper kinetic style lately? Crimson Tide is one of my favorite suspense movies. It’s tremendous. But Man on Fire, Domino, Deja Vu, all with that flashy, overlapped, schizo style, which gets in the way of kind of emotional connection I might have with the film. Drives me nuts.
I’m interested to see what his upcoming remake of The Taking of Pelham 123 is like. Scott doesn’t always have the best scripts to work with, but he’s often impressive as a stylist. Think of it what you will, Top Gun is one was one of the towering acheivements of pure pop cinema of the 80s. I think Scott’s best films are True Romance, Crimson Tide, Enemy of the State, and Deja Vu.
Scott is a fascinating creature. The only man (besides, maybe, Mann) working in the avant-garde in the mainstream? Except more often than not his movies are garbage. But they take stylistic risks few directors do, let alone a director of Scott’s age!
its a little stretch to call scott OR mann avant-garde directors, at least in the old sense of the term.
but scott is great. “true romance” is a really, really good film. great dvd release on it too.
i love man on fire. and didnt he direct the hunger??
I think he’s a Hollywood hack, but I did love True Romance. But it was Tarantino’s script and the cast that made that film. I heard Scott was supposed to be doing a remake of The Warriors. That would be interesting. He’s definitely no auteur in any sense of the term.
i am so not a fan of Tony Scott, but i’ll give him credit for Enemy of the State, which is far more interesting of a film than it could’ve been, but apart of that is also due to the cast and the script. not a perfect action film, and not all that suspensful, but all in all it was a good movie. i can’t think of a single other movie by this guy that i really thought was good. hated Top Gun, and get so sick of all the love thrown at True Romance—Gary Oldman’s small role pretty much saved that movie for me. i tried watching part of Domino, mostly because Tom Waits has a scene in it, and i felt like i was getting motion sickness.
no, not a fan.
how is scott not an auteur in any sense of the term? do you know what the term means?
I have no interest in Scott personally.
Bobby – What is it about Scott that gives his films their own unique stamp, aside from their over-editing, over-stylizing and hyper pacing? I can watch a Michael Mann film and quickly point out the stylistic renderings, whereas I can’t find myself doing that with Scott’s films. To me, Scott’s films are no different than any other run-of-the-mill action film like “Eagle Eye” or any Jason Straitharn film. Then again, I haven’t sat down and watched his films with a discerning eye. I’m just going from memory.
Bordwell has discussed the style of Scott’s late films in a blog post:
“The Bourne Ultimatum belongs to a trend of rough-edged stylization sometimes called run-and-gun. The film has been described as bare-bones but it’s actually quite flashy. All the crashing zooms (accompanied by whams on the soundtrack), jittery shots, drifting framings, uncompleted pans, freeze-frame flashbacks, and other extroverted devices call attention to themselves. You can find earlier instances in Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers and U-Turn, along with stretches in Michael Mann’s latest films. In milder form you find the style on display in TV crime shows, as well as in the notorious docudrama The Road to 9/11.
The most extreme practitioner of this style is probably Tony Scott. From Spy Game through Man on Fire, Domino, and Déjà vu, he has taken this aesthetic in delirious directions. His framing is often restless, as if groping for the right composition. In this shot from Domino, the camera starts a bit too far to the right, shifts left to frame Charles a little better, zooms back hesitantly, then finally stabilizes itself as he addresses the Motor Vehicles worker.
A single shot may give us not only changes of focus but jumps in exposure, lighting, and color; sometimes it’s hard to say whether we have one shot or several. The result is a series of visual jolts, as in Man on Fire.
Scott, trained as a painter, pushes toward a mannered, decorative abstraction, aided by long-lens compositions and a burning, high-contrast palette. For Supremacy, Greengrass adopted a toned-down version of Scott’s approach, while in Ultimatum, he favors drab surroundings and steely colors. Still, both men’s approaches to run-and-gun are frankly artificial, and both remain within the premises of intensified continuity."
the word “auteur” isnt a mark of quality. if so, its being used the wrong way. there are good auteurs and bad auteurs. everyone is one. it just means an artist. someone who creates.
this bordwell article is great. i’m going to bring it over to the hyperrealism thread.
Very True Bobby. Tony Scott’s visual style on Domino made me a huge fan, also the fact that he used some of his own money to make the film is another reason why I like him. For one of the shoot outs he was using a hand cranked 35mm camera, which is something that is not usually used by just any director.
Tony Scott is great at making interesting popcorn movies.
I love his vampire film The Hunger, but I haven’t really enjoyed anything he’s done since then. I usually forget his movies 10 min. after the credits role. But The Hunger is amazing. It’s easily one of the smartest and most adult vampire films ever made. Can’t recommend it enough.
Still need to see Domino, but I’ve been avoiding it due to the film’s star. I have a lot of problems with Keira Knightley or is it Natalie Portman? I can never tell the two apart. Fascinated with the subject of Domino though so I should really just get over my Knightley/Portman avoidance and watch the thing.
My interpretation of an auteur is a filmmaker who has their own personalized style and complete control over all aspects of the film’s production. I tend to raise the bar even higher, though, to include filmmakers who do it all: write, produce and direct their films, i.e. Spike Lee, Jim Jarmusch, Ingmar Bergman, Richard Linklater, etc. I know this is a more personalized definition of the term, and I guess, technically speaking, Scott is in “auteur.” He’s not a bad filmmaker by any means. Domino was ok, but his best films, imo, were “True Romance” and “The Hunger,” which is one of my all time favorite vampire films. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with “The Warriors,” another one of my all time favorite action films.
I’m into it. Especially Domino and Deja Vu, even if they’re compromised, because they’re just so wild. I think there’s a case to be made for the inconsistent, since, you know, life is hardly that way. Or, at any rate, mine is not. Basically I reiterate what d-kaz said and add that I think there’s good stuff to be enjoyed and read in there, not just tossed off as simple garbage. Unless, of course, we’re talking the hate-mongering bully-fest of something like Man on Fire. (Though, to be fair, it kind of worked on me in similar a-g terms bc of a serious plummet into misanthropy around the time of its release; still can’t quite “acquit” it, though, of its often-times idiocy.)
That’s true of Man on Fire, Ryland, in terms of the narrative, the film doesn’t really rise above the pulpiness of the novel on which its based. Same thing happened with The Fan, in my opinion.
I like Tony Scott quite a bit and think he gets ripped on more than he deserves. I love “Man on Fire” and “Domino” to death. The “Driver” short film he co-directed with Ridley is pretty badass as well. I can’t say though that I’m excited about his “Taking of Pelham” remake but I will try and hold my judgment until I get watch the actual film when it comes out.
I must say Taking of Pelham 123 was quite an edge of the seat entertainer relatively better than his earlier flicks Man on Fire, Domino, Deja Vu, I thought both Denzel Washington and John Travolta were adequate and so were Gandolfini and Turturro
EDIT — Sorry I haven’t seen the old version, may the that’s one of the reasons I rate this movie high..
I think an argument for Scott as more than an empty stylist can be made based on The Hunger, True Romance, Crimson Tide, and Deja Vu.
Great article (though a bit specious!) on Scott’s oeuvre in the context of Deja vu_: World Out of Order: Tony Scott’s Vertigoscott.html
That is a great article. I was prepared to make a flip remark about T. Scott and now I feel I may have to catch up with Deja Vu first.
Terrible terrible director. True Romance is great but overall, Tony Scott’s films are as original as Michael Bay’s. I just saw his remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 and it reminded me of Gus Van Sant’s remake of Psycho. Truly awful and truly laughable. Travolta reminds me of Nic Cage – when he’s bad, he’s REALLY bad.
Wait a minute . . . are you comparing the original Pelham with the original Psycho?
Obviously Hitchcock’s Psycho is an important, genre defining film and so no, I don’t mean to suggest Sargent’s film is in the same category. But I really love The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 and think it’s a very well made film, a great genre film and does a good job of accomplishing what it sets out to do. The action is thrilling, the comedy is there, the performances are compelling; I think it’s highly underrated and under appreciated. And what Tony Scott has attempted to do is beyond the ridiculous. I respect Ridley a lot but I think his love for his brother is clouding his judgement in allowing Scott Free to produce some really terrible films. I couldn’t even stomach Domino after fifteen minutes.
Makes solid Hollywood blockbuster. I would pick him over Michael Bay anytime.
Spy Game was fun. Man on Fire was very well made. True Romance is good. Of course he is not Tarkovskij, so what? He is not a director who claims to make intelligent movies, that turn out to be mediocre half of the time (unlike his brother). He has a standard and goes by it. Calling him terrible is beyond the point.
Fredo, have you seen Ridley’s latest, Body of Lies? It’s largely a bad imitation of Tony’s style.