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  • The Insider

    The Insider

    ★★★★★

    In the most pivotal scene of Michael Mann's film previous to this, the two lead characters spend a few minutes talking about dreams, in such a way that it reflects a deeper sense of their places in life. How it magnifies, respectively, their burden and sense of losing time. It elevates the scene above any previous cliches of film confrontation, and would go on to be emulated in myriad films and television since.

    In what's arguably the most pivotal dramatic…

  • Short Time

    Short Time

    ★★★

    The car chase holds up there with the best of them, despite the fact barely anyone remembers this. It probably could stand for a remake, with more emphasis on the action, and balance out the comedy and drama a bit more.

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  • Collateral

    Collateral

    ★★★★★

    One element I haven't seen much in the praise of this film is actually how funny it is. There is a subtle but direct layer of levity, which is mostly used to ease the very palpable tension. I saw it twice in theaters and both times one particular line got a hearty response from the audience. Nearly all of it surrounds the chemistry of it's two leads, and the individual choices they made regarding their characters.

    Tom Cruise (in arguably…

  • Thief

    Thief

    ★★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    There's a ruthlessness to James Caan's performance as Frank that cuts through like one of his tools of the safe-cracking trade. It's 100% pure alpha-male bravado, that can be quickly brought down to earth. Whether it's by his best friend or his wife, there is as equally no fear to the emotion he brings. That's one thing (of many) about Michael Mann's work that is so engaging, is how he shows his protagonists (as well as his antagonists, too) balancing…