Monday, August 20, 2012

On Tony Scott...

UPDATE: Tony Scott is currently reported to not have had inoperable brain cancer.

When something as horrible as death occurs close to the cultural mindset, my first fear is that people will pollute the air with gross comedic jabs. That's generally what I expected with the news of Tony Scott's reported suicide this morning, since Scott is far from what you'd claim to be a master filmmaker. In past years I have written him off as one to avoid, since both "Unstoppable" and "The Taking of Pelham 123" left me not just cold, but reeling from a battered headache. Those films are a distinguished part of what made his name as a director, which is a certain stylistic sensibility that pushed action to full-throttle, no matter how the audience liked it.

It does me good to see people focusing on the good in Tony Scott's career, with "Crimson Tide", "Top Gun", and "True Romance" coming to the front of the conversations in his favor. Scott had 16 features to his name at the time of his death, which isn't so much of an oppressive thing for the fact that there is an apparent explanation for it. Scott had been supposedly diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, and it appears he decided to do something about it. Not as some condoning of his methods, but jumping off the Vincent Thomas Bridge in Los Angeles is one hell of a way to go. In death as in life, Scott pushed things to the edge, for better or worst.

The last film I saw of Tony Scott's was "Enemy of the State" whilst my dad was watching it on FX. What embellished the fact that it was by him was the fact that it had "cars and 'splosions", as I put it so delicately. He wasn't a man of extreme subtlety, nor should he have been. The films he made found an audience who were more than happy for it. His films will live on in that respect, and will doubtless have a recurring place on the FX network. Tony Scott was 68 at the time of his death, and leaves behind wife Donna Smith and two children. Our thoughts go out to them at this difficult time, as well as to his other family members.

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