Saturday, August 07, 2004

The New "Urban" Tom Cruise (TM)

Tom Cruise has unmistakably emerged from the crysalis of his messy break up with Nicole Kidman and the public reassessment of the A-List in an "urban" mode.

I'd like to take full credit for describing Tom's reincarnation as Urban, but it was the Opening venue of "Collateral" at the Urban Film Festival -- a move that had Tom's calculating fingerprints all over it -- that helped me decide on the term.

Now everyone's running with it.

Canada's Globe and Mail yesterday:

"They define two ways of being in the urban jungle. With his grey silk suit to match his hair, Vincent suggests a silver fox (the predator image is underscored when a coyote, eyes flaring briefly, crosses in front of the taxi). Max, with his rabbitty overbite, dark clothes and old-fashioned glasses, chooses camouflage and avoidance."

Canada's National Post:

"Like Mann's Heat, which was also set in Los Angeles, Collateral viscerally captures a certain urban dichotomy: the veneer of gauzy glamour covering the city's dangerous underbelly. The sun is going down, smothering everything in a smoggy, orange haze. Cars lazily navigate the streets of downtown L.A. as The Roots' The Seed 2.0 plays in the background. But something darker is going on underneath, and Mann understands and conveys those discordant rhythms. "

They get the idea, but they miss the point: yes, the film is urban, but, more importantly, so is Tom, which is a long way from being Maverick in Top Gun, or the best bartender in the world in Cocktail, or Born on The Fourt of July. Tom is moving away from the All-American perfect guy and into a darker more postmodern multiethnic space. Could you imagine Tom, 5 years ago, under Pat Kingsley, interviewing Jada Pinkett-Smith for Interview Magazine? Or taking a subordinate bad guy role under Jamie Foxx? Me neither.

Guys, that's the story.

And, just remember, you hear it here first.


3 comments:

Bubbles, Ink. said...

May Tom never reach the hip, coveted Nirva...uh, I mean Urbana label with which all suburban, white, Eminem-wanna-be savage-freak-rappers aspire to be slapped.

Let's not forget, Michael Mann is responsible for that gaudy monstrosity we call "Miami Vice."

And THAT'S the connection to the Don Johnson Post.

Ron said...

Brilliant. Mann also ruined Last of the Mohicans, whose Masterpiece Theater version in the 1970s is a prime influence on my love of the Great Books and 70s nostalgia.

But Mann's worst crime against humanity is the foisting of Glenn Frey on a Reagan-weary and punch drunk commonweal. That was wholly unnecessary.

Bubbles, Ink. said...

Feckin' Brilliant twice over!! I thought I was the only one who abhors what Mr. Mann has done to cinema and production design.

Cheers to you Ron!