This chapter concludes that Michael Mann's authorship must be viewed in several chronological, industrial, and formal contexts: the post-classical context, inflected by television but still marked by the influence of experimentation in American films of the 1960s and 1970s, in which his career begins; the brand name, commercial American auteurist cinema of the 1980s and 1990s in which Mann's signature and success became established; and the emerging digital cinema of the new millennium. His work has been central to and instrumental in the definition and success of a modern cinema of heightened technique, aimed at intense and intended manipulation of audience response, which has nonetheless striven to retain modernist credentials of style, address, and political orientation. Also, the consistency of the generic territory that his films have traversed has provided both archetypal and iconoclastic examples of classical film formulae, and has given voice to realist structures of misplaced and endlessly frustrated yearning, as well as revealed the fallibility of misplaced and misprized heroism.
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