His movies are big on mood which he creates using light, sound and scenery.
1. The Last of the Mohicans—remember that scene when Daniel Day-Lewis chases after Madeleine Stowe and there’s no dialogue only music and Stowe’s (and Day-Lewis’s) beautiful face; that’s how a movie climax should be made.
2. Collateral – the only Tom Cruise movie (its technically his but Jamie Foxx stole it, hands down) that I truly enjoyed. Again, mood prevailed—sounds, light and scenery.
3. Heat - Pacino, De Niro, Kilmer. Three actors famous for not smiling put together in one movie; remember that shoot out in the middle of the street?
4. Miami Vice—I practically grew up on the 80’s tv series but the movie is way, way, way better. There is no trace of pastel anywhere in this movie and its practically night time all throughout but its great. The mood is just right and the blacks and grays make for a great metaphor---for Crockett’s struggle to stay right side up as he gets deeper and deeper into what he does. The dialogue is all mumbly but somehow you manage to understand what’s going on. And, Gong Li is beautiful here (never mind her atrocious accent).
Michael Mann gets it, he really does.