Blood in the Moonlight

Michael Mann and Information Age Cinema


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About the Book

Director and screenwriter Michael Mann is the creative force behind such movies as Last of the Mohicans and Ali. Markedly reticent, Mann prefers that his personal background remain an enigma, but his disparate films contain clear and consistent messages. One of Mann’s focuses is on the Information Age. He addresses the nature of modern communication, its use to manipulate and coerce, and the resultant subjugation of truth. The perils inherent in modern technology and communication stand in stark contrast to the power of symbolic and oral exchange, the trusted medium of Mann’s protagonists.
This critical exploration of the films of Michael Mann examines his recurring focus on the nature of modern communication and information and their effect on the individual and society. Mann’s films highlight the struggle to maintain a connection to reality in a world where information is a commodity manipulated and abused by forces that exert increasing control over its content and dissemination. Each chapter examines one of Mann’s films—including Manhunter, The Keep, Last of the Mohicans, The Insider and Ali—in which the protagonist longs for a sense of human connection but is pitted against forces that devalue and destroy individuality. Photographs illustrate specific moments from the films. A bibliography and an index are included.

About the Author(s)

Mark E. Wildermuth is an associate professor of English at the University of Texas in Odessa. He lives in Odessa, Texas.

Bibliographic Details

Mark E. Wildermuth
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2059-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8221-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      1

1. Introduction: Symbolic Exchange, Informatics, and Michael Mann’s Cinema      15

2. Sympathy and the Devil: Doing Time in The Jericho Mile (1979)      35

3. It’s a Criminal World: Artifice, Nature, and Humanity in Thief (1981)      55

4. History, the Unconscious, and Hyperreality: Gothic Doubles in The Keep (1983)      77

5. Renewed Dialogue: Indirect Light, Complexity, and Exchange in Manhunter (1986)      93

6. Translating Ritual Time and Symbolic Exchange: Colonialism and Nationalism in The Last of the Mohicans (1992)      115

7. The Decay of Dialogue: Disguise and Duplicity in Heat (1995)      135

8. Reviewing the Dialogue: Information as Commodity in The Insider (1999)      151

9. A Blast from the Past: Being the People’s Champion in Ali (2001)      173

10. Summation and Conclusion      195

Bibliography      205

Index      209