Monday, August 20, 2012

Tony Scott, RIP

Some shocking news broke yesterday afternoon and quickly spread across the web: Tony Scott, director of some of the most iconic and indelible thrillers of the last four decades, who helped redefine and reset the visual language and style of the modern action movie for an entire generation of directors who've come up since, was dead by suicide. And, just like that, one of the most illustrious and long-lived careers in cinema is over. I couldn't believe it last night, and I'm not finding it any easier a morning later. What a loss.

The brother of equally illustrious director Ridley Scott (with whom he co-founded production company Scott Free), Tony Scott is probably most known for helming 1986's Top Gun, which helped launched both his Hollywood career and that of star Tom Cruise, but that was merely the beginning of
a very long, incredibly successful run. From The Last Boy Scout to Crimson Tide to Enemy of the State to Man on Fire, from Bruce Willis to Denzel Washington to Will Smith, Scott had worked with some of the biggest stars in the world on some of the most important projects of their careers. 

I'd just re-watched Scott's last -- now also his final -- film, 2010's Unstoppable (his fifth collab with Washington) a few days ago and, with no inkling of the news that would break mere days later, was struck yet again by the practiced proficiency on display. This was a man at the peak of his craft. I don't profess any special knowledge of his personal demons, nor can I even begin to understand how the pull of depression can convince someone that the final solution is the only solution, but I do know that Scott, at 68, still had many years of creativity left in him. His death can't help but diminish the art form he spent his entire professional life toiling in.

In honor of his passing, here's my favorite scene from my favorite Scott flick (though, admittedly, with an illustrious filmography like his, narrowing it down to just one is a pretty difficult task): 2001's Spy Game. Starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt as a CIA handler and his protege, it manages to tie together political intrigue and harrowing action sequences with a twisty plot that keeps you guessing until the very end. The vid below just proves how when you throw two great actors on the screen under the guidance of a great director, movie magic can't help but happen:

No comments: