April 2, 2023
Which Way Is Up S01E01 Miami Vice (2006)

“Let’s take it to the limit one more time.”

Probably the greatest digital genre film ever made — the jacked-up, near-distorted digital “grain” of Miami Vice reflects the growing anxiety of the 21st century human condition like no other. On the surface this slick crime movie is a digital revamp of the cases Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs would crack in the iconic 1980s series. However, underneath its luxury surface of go-fast boats, sport cars, table service night clubs and designer villa’s, Michael Mann’s film captures the exact moment when digital technology converges with permanent shifts in the new global hegemony that resulted in the permanent flux of the hyperrealist surveillance society that dictates all of our lives. This film is Baudrillardardian to the core — one of the most evocative works on our times, because it precisely embodies what it means to be alive today.
Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx are at their most quotable in their iconic roles as the undercover crime-fighting duo, while Chinese acting titan Gong Li delivers her most anguished and inspired performance to date. The complex emotional triangle that dictates their characters is the beating heart of this equal parts kinetic and contemplative epic. Transposing the ever-fleeting and impermanent feeling of living under capitalist realist globalism to the bodily and physical, Mann’s implosive film is one of redirected carnal desire, of the unreachability of love, of the impossibility of equilibrium, and the unconditional state of anxiety that capitalism perpetuates.
This post-modern masterpiece is also the spiritual foundation of this entire film series and functions as a cinematic departure point to venture, through film, into the flux of the 21st century and examine the way cinema has investigated, interrogated and reflected these times through its digital mode of production and distribution.

Before the screening of Miami Vice, film critic and curator Hugo Emmerzael gives a brief introduction that explores key themes of Miami Vice and the way they interact with the rest of this film season of Which Way Is Up?

Title: Miami Vice | Directed by: Michael Mann | Year: 2006 | Runtime: 134 min

About the programme: Which Way Is Up? is a recurring film series curated by film critic Hugo Emmerzael, offering critiques and reflections on our postmodern, late capitalist hellworld through the lens of digital film — from mainstream blockbusters to experimental cinema.