© 2015 by James Clark
The films of Michael Mann glow and growl with extreme sensual punch in the service of enveloping the viewer within a realm the likes of which most folks have never visited. On seeing one of these insurrections, most of the more or less attentive visitors have things to say—pro and con—with regard to this retailing of a species of Impressionism (also courtesy of a series of very fine cinematographers like Dion Beebe and Stuart Dryburgh). Though the works do include often highly detailed narrative content, few viewers ever reach the point of crediting Mann as being more than a perfunctory writer, and most see him also as an onset of vaguely annoying repetition of story lines that were not much good even the first time around.
I want to, first of all, get down to refuting that latter misconception at the outset of examining one of his most physically impressive films, namely, Miami Vice (2006), because it is crucial to establish (in the face of that context) that this filmic output is much more than a full-frontal feast for the eyes and ears and nerves. Mann is very much a rad ride designer, no doubt; but he’s not a midway engineer and to choose that he is is to lack any trace of what his films are about. A production like Miami Vice, I hope to convey here, is much more about cosmic failure than regional success. And such an imbroglio cannot be effectively disclosed without a degree of discursive articulation crackling to life from out of those fiery cauldrons. We are not merely touched by vividly beautiful and exciting endowments of primal kinetic phenomena offset by close- and restricted-range ugliness that is readily discounted and consigned to brighter days or eons ahead. Those ambushes of violent idiocy take place as crucially fortified by long-standing institutional facilitators and as such they carry the same intensive weight as cosmic inspirations—only, whereas the latter tend to be fleeting, the former tend to be massively entrenched and opportunistically versatile. The players in Mann’s films—so often struggling within and without specific crimes—do reach moments of articulating at some level the storm system driving them nearly crazy. Those moments point to dimensions en route to effective but maddeningly difficult combat with exponents of infinitely entrenched cultural viruses.
So it is, in Miami Vice, that two figures, a drug cartel executive or queen, named Isabella, and an undercover lawman named Crockett (that name not only redolent in itself of frontier adventure but, coming to us in the person of an actor, Colin Farrell, who had, the year before appearing here, enacted the explorer Captain John Smith in a film intriguingly named, The New World), are more pointedly about their epochal designations than their modern Caribbean carryings-on. Isabella (in league, wouldn’t you know it?) with a paramour/mover and shaker named, within a cluster of designations but, strikingly and more to the point, Jesus, falls under the spell of the detective searcher’s daring and presumed ambition to acquire a fortune (and he falls under the spell of her nearly inconceivable powers [historically, powers to promote Jesus and run roughshod over more ragtag organizations like Jews and Moors]). (The Chinese actress, Gong Li, informs this role with an iceberg presence—and a slippery command of English almost veering into outer space—capable of being warmed to a rather indeterminate degree.) There is, of course a peppy and decorative melodrama swirling around the brief and reckless nautical romance of the two figures figuring they have something going (Something Big); but without the distant waves they make, that other commotion stays, for all its optical and aural pop, something small.
As a multi-media artistic disclosure, Miami Vice not only allows but demands that the play of words be instrumental in the retrospective way we have staked out. The film’s early moments centering upon a power boat race along the Miami coast, with lots of pure-white foam being raised by the knife edged prows of catamarans, not to mention high-seas billowing clouds against a promisingly blue firmament, give us a foretaste of lives dedicated to nerves of steel and ardent hearts. We catch a first, blurry glance of Crockett (already having left behind dusty transport) as being the non-driver to his partner and driver, Tubbs, lithe and fit (and African-American; a feature reaching back to Isabella and the Moors) and thereby—seemingly, at least—belying the connotations of clownishness and awkwardness in his name (which of course, as with Crockett, we only learn a bit later). That bit later, after the sea sights and sounds are left behind and a nebulous infiltration of the complement of the racing fleet is implicit at the yacht club, also shows them, now relieved of their racing gear, to be wearing T-shirts on the back of which is printed, “Mojo,” just as their swift craft had been branded. (We can ease into some vague form of confidence and subversiveness in the air without deploying the loaded epochal confidence and subversiveness at the heart of the progression. But we have to reel that matter back over the fragment to bring the work to its full potential. This is not a long and strenuous roller-coaster ride you’d only venture into once and then stagger home. Miami [the Beauty] Vice [the Beast] has to be brought to its full stature in repeated, compounded ways.)
In the wake of that questionable and confused Mojo we are hit by the lack of sangfroid on the part of a colleague who calls Crockett during some revelry at a less than turboprop club involving the boat race participants where the mojo team are far from lightening up in face of the prostitution trade the racers are currently galvanized by. The odd-man-out, Alonzo, racing erratically along a freeway and revealing himself further by a painfully querulous voice tasks Crockett to “Take care of Leonetta”—this in a context where the mojo-flyer has shown his cool in calming down Tubbs’ ire at the lack of decorum, capping it off with the long-view point, “We got him… His day will come.” The melodramatic content can be quickly lodged. Alonzo’s cover had been somehow blown; Leonetta, his wife, had been subsequently kidnapped with a view to extracting from her husband the full details of the sting operation closing in on a meth concern; Alonzo rats; Leonetta dies; his teammates die; and the racers (They just might have won that race, judging from congratulations), on catching up with him in Crockett’s high-powered black sports car convertible, behold their friend with mixed emotions as thus having crossed an incendiary line of betrayal; Tubbs, himself crossing a kind of line, informs Alonzo that Leonetta is dead; and the desperate cop desists from trembling by stepping in front of an onrushing 18-wheeler to an upshot of a small streak of blood on the pavement. Some corporate interpretive business is noticeably in play: the ratting issue in Melville’s Second Wind (rounding up an option of less-than-glamorous integrity); Kiss Me Deadly’s cool vehicles and a sweet little man getting in over his head and getting squashed; and those earlier Mann sagas of distress which counsel mojo in the form of living on a knife-edge and not allowing anyone else to matter when the chips are down. But there is tantalizingly more afoot in this very sure-footed delivery of Something Big. The DJ at the white slave miasma (a place called Mansion) has a white bunny doll at his electronic magic table and we are looking down the barrel of Lynch’s Rabbits (its furtiveness rather unlike the ways of Alonzo’s hysteria), one of the actors of which—and in the associative film, Mulholland Drive, namely, Justin Theroux, is one of the detective crew here. The meth gang are also white supremacists, anticipating the mainstream here apropos of the eccentricity of Isabella (and Crockett). Another movement of the fanfare being served for that discriminating ruler casting a long shadow occurs during the tipped-off kidnappers (a sort of lost tribe of the Russian Mafia) pretending to be taking seriously Alonzo’s teammates as buyers of the keys to rare powers and rare profits. The boss brags, “You’re looking at 92% pure” [not like that junk from unevolved locales]. Isabella’s spirit of 92 would go back some, to 1492.
Crocket and Tubbs replace the slaughtered team, and the former, rather true to form we see by now, asks “How do we get all close and personal?” [A question Columbus probably posed in days of yore when the same old was beginning to be not enough]. In a briefing for the odyssey of justice shaping up in the form of new twists upon rigors having been left dormant for a long time, the boys are shown an aerial surveillance tape wherein drugs (over and above the domestic meth and having to do with the range of those proud chemists) are transported from Columbia to Haiti and from there to be moved to Miami by power boats like those seen at the outset. Haiti, having taken hold on the island of Hispaniola, was where Christopher Columbus thought to be landing in China. The grey-toned instructional video shows crafts with prows pronounced to a point and thereby resembling that ancient Spanish devotional garb (the nazareno) whereby penitents could mask their identity—a form of guilt without apprehension. This being a cult-on-cult drama, we’d be amiss in ignoring how such garments also entail the uniforms of those other white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan.
The Mike Hammer optics informing Crockett soon gets busy regarding the “all close and personal,” in the person of one Nicholas—who addresses him, “Sonny, what’s up?” a rally like those of the original’s Nick: “Hey Mikey! Mikey, boy!”—an all-purpose informer (gift of the gab) in a $4 million penthouse. To make contact with the Columbian syndicate of interest (which the bungling FBIers had attained to realizing to be the heart of the heartless locals) the lively cops have to first of all fly down (Ricardo Tubbs piloting) to Nazi-era-redolent Paraguay in order to set up an interview in Haiti with the first lieutenant, of the royal couple, one Jose Yero, on the basis of false IDs showing them to be hard-core criminals (there is, we shall see, a barb in that), and on the pretext of being incredible drug distributors who could put the glow-production on a footing close to that of Walmart. The point man in Port au Prince also has to factor in their expensive clothes and executive vehicles, and their quietly nervy tone, evincing in this job application a super-predator’s sixth sense, that power being an offshoot of a métier calling for a vast galaxy of smarts. The bespectacled smart guy kicks some Latino dust over the expensive footwear of the gringos, in the macho, good old Inquisitorial test—“How I know if you any good at this shit? Who the fuck knows you?” [Their CVs, though no doubt properly lurid, would, wisely, not specify what drug trade work they had lit up]. Like Collateral’s Felix being stymied by some real and unexpected mojo, Jose is flummoxed by Sonny’s producing s small bomb and Tubbs, played by Jamie Foxx, the mouse that roared, namely, Max, in that other Mann movie, musing on redoing the walls in the spirit of Jackson Pollock. At this juncture, when Jean-Pierre Melville’s acuity about the grotty textures of walls spins our way, Isabella, who had been listening and watching in shadow far from the conference table, tells the troops in Spanish to put away their guns and get down to welcoming the skills being offered. Whereas Tubbs has brazened it out along lines of money to be made or lost, Crockett has stressed the dramatic dimensions of such venturesomeness. He refuses to work with the firm’s regulars, arguing, “They didn’t do the time with us, they ain’t doin’ dope with us…”
Jose had registered another aspect of the monarchy’s coat of arms in a sublimated attempt to save face about being pushed around by a woman, when, though begrudgingly accepting Crocket as a colleague, looking down his nose at (only semi-gringo) Tubbs and his dark skin. “I don’t like his looks.” But, that aside, now we are on the brink of exploring Isabella’s regal, charismatic stature as a daring, innovative spirit; and from here the film ceases to be an entertainment grafted to a rather opaque universe of mojo/macho and sets sail into the realm of incisive (but far from easy) avant-garde film art. The next step for Sonny and Rico—intrepid, to be sure, but rather predictable—is to present themselves to the powers-that-be and receive formal blessings for their ambitious outburst of crime. There is a palace of sorts owned by those giants in the lush jungle of Columbia; but the golden couple also have a mobile castle in the form of a very roomy limo which our great pretenders approach amidst a gigantic parking lot dotted with kick-ass trucks and heavily armed loyalists. Also there, in the pronounced gloom of a Port au Prince night, we get a quick glance of a starving coyote cringing in face of all this show of superiority. (Those familiar with Mann’s Collateral have seen coyotes giving a clinic in real superiority.) A head-of-state- simulating convoy of shiny black high-powered vehicles had swished past assorted peons planted, as always, by the roadside, standing drinking beer or draped over abutments on the roofs of roach-ridden shelters. Near the impromptu conference centre, there were two large military trucks putting the area, by fiat, out of bounds to the inert citizenry. Once into this safe haven, Crockett and Tubbs’ cab is abruptly halted and an automatic-rifle-toting knight rips open the door and commands, “Get out the car!” Frisked and made to lean against the car’s roof, the cool cops find themselves feeling pretty submissive. Cleared to approach the mobile court of the rulers of an alpha and parallel regime, Crockett whispers to Tubbs, “Where’re all the people gone?” After a nod from Jesus, an underling opens the door of a very roomy, very plush, creamy leather throne room resplendent not of art works but computing works. The boys have to bend over in taking their seats, more optics of submission to the course of just one amongst many zealous and calculatively fertile fortune hunts. The reigning monarchs sit side-by-side in complementary garb (Jesus all in whitish slacks and shirt, Isabella in a tailored black business suit), their eyes totally unwelcoming. In a studied deep voice, the King lays down the law with not quite a minimum of detail. “Excuse me, because I am very busy. I have many things to do so this will be brief. Yes? I will try you out. I wanna know. To build trust…” Isabella then adds, in a vote of confidence pertaining to the sang froid in face of rude Jose, “I saw some keys out of Columbia. Your hand is pretty good…” Then her consort brings things to a close with, “What all matters… when you work for me you must do exactly what you said you would do. In this business I do not buy a service, I buy a result. If you say you will do a thing you must do exactly that thing. [Jesus calling] And you will prosper beyond your dreams. To go with many tons you will go through my subordinate, Jose Yero. I look forward to our doing more work together. Whether we do it or not it is unlikely we will ever meet again. [Regal touch] I extend my best wishes to your families. Thank you for making this trip to see me…” From out of that discharge of entitlement via materially successful calculative single-mindedness, like high-beams causing lesser souls to squint and cringe as the coyote did, there commences a trace of mutiny posing a speed bump to the hegemony of material results. At a window of the black limo Isabella, her face conveying that she has heard her partner’s axioms too often, looks at Sonny and he can’t take his eyes off of her. (Alice and Pete in Lynch’s Lost Highway?) The optics of her with elements of the car’s interior behind her includes a bird-like factor seemingly in her hair, a fascinator, if you will.
Not exactly the science-based corporation the CEOs have envisaged—in fact the built-in mysticism and danger of the product and its marketing suggesting a heady assimilation of free-market combat—right from the new warriors’ maiden voyage (with a load of cocaine loaded in the Columbian rain forest) in Tubb’s white dazzler of an executive jet there is serious friction in the form of being stalked by a larger craft. Thinking to turn the complication into an asset, the newbies summon Jose to a mouldering shell of an art deco restaurant where they have assembled the Russians’ earlier stolen cocaine cache being a possible sidebar (Or, is it more than that and Jose knows exactly what’s up here?) of the meth supremacists, an aftermath of the executions of the FBI team being the overrunning of their warehouse and the impounding of the treasure before it could be distributed. They take some satisfaction in being insulting to Yero—their sleight of hand evoking the enterprise’s culture of contemptuous advantage—and go from there to Isabella’s fabulous, of course, Miami Beach digs where they calculatively refuse to exact payment for the return of property that had gone missing, probably due to Jose’s raiding the cookie jar with the help of those Caucasians. Amidst this dance of magnanimity—“Consider it an investment,” Crockett explains—Jose and Isabella muster rare smiles. She leaves the building but not before tossing out a noble-looking bon-bon, telling Jose, something he would not want to hear, “Give them a shipment on the 17th,” and Sonny pursues her past the infinity pool, asking, “Why don’t I buy you a drink?” From the garden we see the “go fast” boat called Mojo at the dock and Isabella accepts his invitation in a manner activating more mojo than either of them has ever seen before. “I know a place,” she states (after getting assurances that Mojo is “fast”). And they embark for Havana (“I’ll take you to the best place”). The racing catamaran, as we saw it at the outset, skims over and cuts into the same and yet forever changed Atlantic where another Isabella drawn to “the best place” and another doughty discoverer got down to serious business. The protagonists let the deep blue and the foamy white surround and their own plunge do the talking. A song comes up, with a pop diva ripping through, “I’ll be gone… I’ll be very long… I’ll be goin’ home!” The spray kicked up by all that horsepower and the high-definition digital conveyor forwarding the go-fast usher them into a visual and tactile place far apart from cloying business. (In the course of what brief patter there was, she announces, “I never do business in Cuba and Jesus is not my husband. I’m a business woman. I do not need a husband…”) After a night of rhapsodic and yet ballroom fussy salsa at the best place (the band’s lead singer only too amiable), they end up at her family homestead—an art deco site that has seen better days—along the scruffy beachfront. And after a night of still rather stolid love-making (with an Audioslave track not as uplifting as the one with the coyotes in Collateral—“Now I feel the worst is here/ Hold me close and count the years…”), Isabella shows him an old photo of a wedding reception where her mother who died of typhoid at an early age is pointed out (“…everyone in couples… She is more special…”). Crockett sees the direction she’s broached with aristocratic daring (to wit, ditching one Jesus for another), and he backs off. “It’s a bad idea” [for personal and professional reasons]. She quickly rallies, from out of a sea-expanse of savvy, “It’s past a bad idea…” The passionate kiss crowning Crockett’s, “Then there’s nothing to worry about,” far surpassing the ardor of their night of looking for mojo with a future, is a draft of filmic drama touched by something searingly in play (and defeating them), far beyond the film industry. The film itself stays the course it has ignited by showing momentarily prudent Sonny going even farther off the deep end than she did. He follows up the vaguely nightmarish repulsing of her reckless and glamor-lust affection with a morning shower suddenly interrupted by her tearing open the shower curtain. The Bates Motel could not architecturally hold a candle to their faded deco gem; but it could up the ante on the anomie of this couple’s swinging into the precincts of real mojo. They gently and rather surprisingly caress in that testy little room and Crockett goes on to propose something more businesslike, namely, their transferring their salsa moves to ripping off Jesus (a moment of the sheriff turning in his badge, on getting a whiff of something more cool, more solitary, than being a cog in a not entirely satisfactory industry). “Let’s talk a different deal. You pad zero…” Here we receive our first definitive sense of the queen being, when all is said and done, too big for the cop. “Is it December? Did Christmas come early this year?” [Once again, Felix, Max and the hard ways of mojo]. Isabella goes on to produce a recertification for Crockett, and it carries her recent findings of his lack of equilibrium and range. “Your idea is too big for your skin. And merely to propose this is a dangerous thing.” (Stung by this truth, he heads back to Miami on the strength of a rather cheap rebuff. “OK. Then I would say to you: This has been fun.”)
Back to Columbia for the 17th, he joins her in those plush seats where they first met and they discover more than increased fun in free-enterprise treacherous depths as against safety-net Cuba. (She had, just before this rendezvous somewhat rejigged [in reporting to Jesus] her dim view of his traction. “I like the dimensions. I like businessmen who are competent.” She hedges her bet, though, in telling the “very busy” schemer, “On the other hand, after the load is received, we not gonna have him forever.”) Their subsequent love-making in the back seat is one about which you could almost say, “I’ll be gone…” The reunion is sealed with his, “Hola, Chica!” and her, “Hola Chico!” That night they are overt lovers on the dance floor of a disco Jose owns (“Oh yes, I’m a disco guy,” he tells Trudy, Rico’s girlfriend and fellow Dade County cop, brought down for the optics of a criminal’s girl), the disco guy barely concealing his disgust that a hitherto blood-curdling force could be so readily slighted. There also Crocket and Tubbs learn of their responsibility for safeguarding shipment to Miami on a Malaysian freighter. What they don’t learn is that Jose (on the same page as Sonny’s indiscretion) has arranged for those 4000 keys (Keys to what?) to be commandeered by those Russian non-Suprematists at the center of the dust-up in the film’s first movement. But another difference of opinion between Isabella and Crockett—this time far more respectful—flares up on the dockside beyond the disco where Chica and Chico had gone for some fresh air, a conversation fleshing out their impasse with a view to imminent catastrophe. She begins, “Once I had a fortune, ‘Leave now, life is short. And good luck.’” Crockett follows this small talk barely concealing its large talk, with, “You got assets somewhere?” And he follows upon her ‘Why?’ with “Things go wrong. The odds catch up. Probability. It’s like gravity. You cannot negotiate with gravity [this rubric—pertaining to leadenness and its implacable hostility to verve—featuring the converse of the well-known Mann motif calling for intuitive concourse with the height of dynamics]. One day… one day you should just cash out [Jean-Pierre Melville’s Second Wind having much to show about the wrongness of cashing out; and Mann attempting again and again to bring back into play those long ago moments of staying the multifaceted course]. Now, to cash out and get out… As far as you can get.” Isabella gives him a strained smile and asks, “Would you find me?” He declares, “Yes, I would” [Would he look in Captiva, home of retiree, Will, in Manhunter?]. She clearly regrets having opened this line of thought and tries to dispel it with, “This is very cute. The protective male talking…” Sonny persists, “This is the talk of a man to be your husband. He’d never put you at risk. [“I’ll be gone… I’ll be goin’ home” not incompatible with the most severe and omnipresent risk, “gravity”] I ain’t puttin’ you within a thousand miles of them that could hurt you” [Sweet guitar twangs in the background. The avatar of a kind of chivalry has a bemusing full name—James Sonny Crockett. Sonny James was a country/western hit parader in the 1950s and 1960s, his biggest hit being called, “Young Love”]. She, far more conversant with such iron-clad propositions and their down side, asks, “Then where would you be?” “A while longer still in this business” is his flippant way of covering a lethal complication. “Then I’d find you,” he maintains, placing much belief in the powers of Social Media when in fact he’s stumbled upon a paradox far predating James, “The Country Gentleman,” namely, the dance-band era hyperbole, “The difficult I’ll do right now. The impossible will take a little while…” “Would you [find me]?” she asks with a wan smile. “If you couldn’t, I would have left. That would leave me alone. As if that was the key…” She, suddenly distraught, looks about. From out of this punishing paradoxical impasse, she exudes as much certainty as she can. “But none of this will happen…because what do you see around? Look around you… It’s controlled by Jesus Montoya!” She strides away. He slouches after her. (A few deft chip shots by Mann, preceding this inclement atmosphere where Crockett becomes a pro caddy about to be unemployed, complement this moment truth. One of the little white lies in the sleuths’ documentation says more about them than they’d like to believe: their actions had centered upon a locale named Pelican Bay, pelicans evoking crude assimilation of nourishment. In pressing the case to undo Jesus and Isabella to the extent of profit centres not pertaining to American targets, Sonny goes revealingly overboard with the coolness of his adventure: “No one has ever tread before where we are now.” And then there is an aerial view of a most arresting chain of waterfalls in the vicinity of the Columbian crime headquarters, there to be properly loved and there to be perpetually ignored.)
Jose, the music maker, tries to pick up the tempo by showing the busy ruler some recorded moments of Chica and Chico’s quasi palace revolt. Jesus being far more devoted to a strong balance sheet than strong affection does nothing but disappear (not by any means an abdication) after the Malaysian load at the Miami docks precipitates a war between the Miami Police cued up by Crockett and Tubbs and the Russian crime wave cued up by Yero (Yero/Yarrow being the surname of the Peter in the Sonny James-era folk group, Peter, Paul and Mary). Jose has also rounded up the female member of the management group, now held at gunpoint to undergo retribution for degrading the supposed wholesomeness of the enterprise. (The lip-smacking melodramatics by the First Lieutenant now with an eye to becoming a king underline the pervasively and varyingly simplistic and crude motives of all the players. “I brought your friend,” he mocks Crockett, across the no-man’s-land formed by the White Russians’ kidnapping Trudy and using that leverage to take over the keys at a delivery point. “Only, man, she mine now. Jesus gave her to me to ask questions and find out interesting things. We a couple now… So when she and me go catch a movie and grab a bite… When I get tired I throw her away… her leg in one place, her head someplace else. You guys ever see that? [Lots of guys see that in the handiwork of ISIS] She here now to make sure everything go right.”) In the process of being duped into thinking the shipment will be handed over, the Russians and Jose are outnumbered and outgunned; and after one of those patented noisy bloodbaths, all of the offshore miscreants are no more, with the exception of Isabella whom Crockett whisks away to his beach house far out of town.
Before we consider the termination of their partnership, we should pay a bit of attention to the military and wider technology from which they have just emerged and to which they are both, rhetoric and body language notwithstanding, ardently committed. In the course of Crockett and Tubbs’ reporting to their point man, the Dade County Police Chief, the latter, in designing the trap, grabs the spotlight as naturally as Jose. “I run it. I run it. I won’t let the product come in until we’ve got the shooters in place.” Go-fast boats have brought the boys and their supposed jail-mates to that leader and high-powered weapons have been brandished and launched in the course of rescuing Trudy from the trailer court where Jose’s solidly Caucasian partisans live. Jose slickly remote-bombs that prison sending Trudy to an Emergency Ward where avid technicians and divided care-givers do their vaguely unnerving stuff.
In addition to being expert pilots of dazzling vehicles on land, on sea and in the skies, the mojo boys are brilliant marksmen, each demonstrating that fact in climaxes where slighted Tubbs gets to use a New Age rifle to splatter Jose all over an already grotty Third World tub and where Crockett, while fending off an outraged Isabella—screaming as she punches him, “Who are you? Who are you?” [A good question for the whole cast and the whole audience]—shields her in the course of putting two go-fast bullets into the forehead of the trailer-dweller (a deft optical design touch showing Jesus and Isabella’s jungle palace from the air to resemble nothing so much as a very large trailer). All good, right? The parting moments for Crockett and Isabella, though so sweetly chic we might be tempted to call them sublime, draw to our attention something not so good. On the ride out to his property (“assets somewhere”) she has a fit of seething umbrage, smashing him several times and inducing him to stop the car and tie her up to prevent disfigurement to a model set of wheels Mike Hammer would have liked very much. But, once released at the hideaway in early morning light, she regains much of that formidable composure, and he joins her on the stoop overlooking a sea that, a while before, momentarily seemed like home. He tells her very quietly, “A man named Frank [painful frankness weighing upon them both] is going to come in a boat. He will take you to a point where you can find your way to Havana. Nobody will follow you… including me…” Cross-cutting shows Trudy on life-support, Tubbs by her bed more incredulous than devastated. Those at the beach seem to be making a stab at measuring the devastation between them. Isabella says, “Remember I said Chinese luck [hinging on Jesus/ hinging on leaving]…” He nods yes. She nods, too. They try to smile. “It was too good to last,” Crockett whispers, resorting to cliché, finding himself as lost at sea as Tubbs at the hospital. She nods, blankly regarding his pointless non sequitur and rests her head on his shoulder. He caresses her face closing his eyes and their arms and hands and expensive watches in close-up compose a living sculpture infinitely more to the point of creative interplay than anything they have ever been able to bring themselves to articulate or live by. After one of those checks on Trudy, moving the fingers of one hand and being clasped there by a desperate Tubbs, we find Isabella on the deck of Frank’s short-range and uninspiring boat and we see them undemonstratively looking at each other for the last time. A Chinese musical cadence exudes some of the exigency of forward motion. But it, too, is largely a non sequitur. The boat speeds up pragmatically and her eyes still looking his way are about to be enveloped in a different but not a new world. He turns to get into his car and with a jump cut he is making his way with alacrity into the hospital doorway. His gait is frayed, reminding us of Manhunter’s Will, suddenly a crotchety Florida oldster heading for a grocery check-out counter after telling his son that his (somewhat incisive) past was something to bury forever.