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Man on Fire: A look at Tony Scott

Yesterday many people woke up to hear the passing of Tony Scott. Some of you might not have known who he was, but many of you do. He was not only the brother of Ridley Scott the director of Prometheus, Alien, Gladiator and many more, he was a great director in his own right creating some very great films. While Ridley might have been considered the more recognized of the two brothers, Tony Scott was still one of Hollywood’s most influential directors. He left his mark on the world of film with such classic films like True Romance and Crimson Tide. He and his brother also started their own production company called Scott Free which has produced some of their top films.

A look at many Tony Scott films and their movie posters
Many sources
Tony Scott in his famous red cap
Associated press

Tony Scott brought us a visual style that was unique and vibrant. He mixed his angles, filtered his shots and cut some amazing scenes. True Romance (written by Quentin Tarantino) has become a cult classic tale of drugs and the life it leads you to. It would be wrong not to include one of his most famous movies, Top Gun, which brought the action of fighter pilots to the big screen in this discussion. Scott wowed us with dramatic flight scenes that Michael Bay would only dream of. It made household names of Iceman and Maverick. The whole film has some very memorable scenes. Plus the score of the film has become a classic with many hits many of us still love. If you grew up around the time Top Gun came out you wanted to be Maverick and be the best fighter pilot on the planet. We can thank Tony Scott for that.

As with most artists, Tony grew even more visual director after these films. One film in particular I’d like to focus in on is Man on Fire, starring Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning. Man on Fire was released in 2004, made Dakota Fanning into a breakout child star and is just one of five films Denzel Washington made with Tony Scott. In this film we really got to see Scott’s visual style grow into greatness. Man on Fire touched me in many ways as a future storyteller. At the time I was learning the craft of storytelling through prose and comic book script; I was just beginning my road to learn the ways of mastering comic book scripting. I really dived into the film paying attention to each scene and how it was shot. I started to visualize this film as a comic book. Each minute of film was a page full of panels. The intensity and emotion flowed through each scene. The visuals were choppy at times and yet stunning. Scott made you feel Creasy’s revenge. This movie had the feel of a Punisher film to it. A man who had the one thing he loved taken from him and he returns to do what he does best- Kill the bad guys. Even fan favorite comic book writer Mark Millar stated on his message board: “Man on Fire too, of course. The best Punisher movie ever made.”

That is one thing I wish Mr. Scott would have given us, a comic book film. I feel his visual style would have been a GREAT thing to see in a comic book world setting. Even though he didn’t grace us with an actual comic book film, many of his films have that sort of vibe to them; or at least for me at least they do. You can look at Taking of Pelham 123, Domino or Deju Vu all as crime style comic books, but they were just movies. His unique visuals give all these films such an effect that makes them great. I for one don’t think he could direct a bad film. Yes I’m biased because I’m a huge fan of his work- But on this day we all notice his greatness that he accomplished in his life.

This week I am off to have a Tony Scott marathon. Starting with my favorites- Man on Fire and True Romance, have a good time where ever you are Mr. Scott. Thanks for all the great films and memorable characters like Creasy and Goose that will stay with us forever. Rest in Peace, you will be missed by many.

CHECK out the slideshow for many images from Tony Scott films.


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