In the Dark

Prohibition Addiction

Miami Vice
Produced and distributed by Universal Pictures
Directed by Michael Mann
Screenplay by Michael Mann and Anthony Yerkovich

Miami Vice isn’t a film; it’s a cultural indicator.

This thought came to me as I was making my way off a plane coming home from Las Vegas.  (I was traveling for business, not pleasure, if you must know.)  In flight, I had been scribbling some desultory notes on Michael Mann’s $125 million retread of his 1980’s television series.  As I inched my way to the plane’s exit, I noticed a boy of ten or eleven in a T-shirt bearing the scowling portrait of Al Pacino as Tony Montana, the Cuban-Miami cocaine entrepreneur of Brian De Palma’s lurid Scarface (1983).  Groomed in character, Pacino was wearing his signature white suit and Caesar haircut, a .45 automatic hanging from the end of his right arm.  What kind of parents, I wondered, would allow their son to wear such a shirt?  No sooner had I asked this question than I had my answer.  It was in my notes.  The parents were obviously the kind who flock to films such as Miami Vice with junior in tow when they’re not playing slots in Vegas.

Miami Vice proves once more that, whatever harm contraband intoxicants have inflicted on America at large, they have always been a commercial boon...

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