“Enjoy LA”: The Cinematic Representation of Los Angeles in Michael Mann’s Collateral

Ash Perry thesis
abstract: 

Michael Mann’s films have taken their place alongside the most dynamic and singular representations of modern urban environments within the cinema.

This thesis analyses Michael Mann’s representation of Los Angeles (LA) within his 2004 film, Collateral.

As a contemporary of post-classical American filmmakers including John Carpenter, Francis Ford Coppola, William Friedkin, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, his films, although the source of considered review and discussion have yet to be the subject of sustained academic investigation.

Centred on Collateral, this thesis argues that although the film is directly related thematically, stylistically, intertextuality and self-referentially to Mann’s previous film set in LA, Heat, he has more than simply reiterated old preoccupations and imagery, rather he has effectively extended his representation and vision of the city.

Collateral represents an important work from one of America’s most highly regarded auteurs, highlighting the city’s exceptionalism and ‘global city’ status in new and interesting ways.

This thesis arrives at the conclusion that Collateral establishes not only an accurate and relevant reflection of contemporary urban LA but that it represents the city in a revelatory way seldom explored within mainstream Hollywood cinema.

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supervisor: Adrian Danks

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