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The Cinema of Michael MannVice and Vindication$
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Jonathan Rayner

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231167291

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231167291.001.0001

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Pursuing the Professional

Pursuing the Professional

Thief, Heat, Collateral

Chapter:
(p.62) Chapter Two Pursuing the Professional
Source:
The Cinema of Michael Mann
Author(s):

Jonathan Rayner

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231167291.003.0003

This chapter assesses the concept of professionalism in Michael Mann's films, and examines the crime films Thief (1981), Heat (1996), and Collateral (2004). The elevation of professional activity, or perhaps professionalism, in Mann's protagonists' chosen activities represents an expression of belief in and commitment to high and exclusive principles. The implications of this preference for and elevation of work in lifestyle are reflected in their meticulously planned actions, and are verbalised in examples of infrequent and distinctive male speech. Through the physical performance of individually determined roles, Mann's characters redefine, qualify, and deny moral and behavioural norms. In Thief and Heat, the sequences which detail the robberies and burglaries receive emphasis as generic, action-based set-pieces, but also act as the embodiments of the protagonists' codes and principle. Moreover, Collateral foregrounds the personal morality and codification of male behaviour permeating in Thief and Heat.

Keywords:   professionalism, Thief, Heat, Collateral, crime films, male behaviour

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