There's not much I can add to what's already been said over the course of the day. The shocking bridge-jump suicide of veteran director Tony Scott has led to an outpouring of grief and condolences from all over the world. Adding to the tragedy: Monday afternoon brought reports that the 68-year-old Scott was recently diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer.
|Tony Scott with favorite star Denzel Washington. The pair|
collaborated on five films from 1995-2010.
Until one takes a good look at his list of credits, it's easy to forget just how many hit films he made over the last 30 years, despite constantly being in the shadow of his more critically-acclaimed older brother Ridley Scott. In the eyes of the critics, Ridley was always the visionary, Tony the journeyman hack. And that is true to a certain extent, but considered as a whole, Tony Scott made some entertaining movies. His were often a triumph of style over substance, and over the last decade, his style often relied on hyperactive camera work, sudden changes in film stock, and other jarring directorial tricks that, for better or worse, proved to be an influence on younger filmmakers. Tony Scott made his mark, and had the kind of financially successful career of which most aspiring filmmakers can only dream. Scott's TRUE ROMANCE (1993) is generally regarded as the closest he came to making a legitimate, critically-validated "classic" but he will never be considered a "great" director. He wasn't John Ford. He wasn't Akira Kurosawa. He wasn't Stanley Kubrick. His films never won any prestigious awards. And like any director with a long career, he had his share of misfires (I've never been a TOP GUN fan, but I'd probably cite the headache-inducing 2009 remake of THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3 as his worst film), but Tony Scott made entertaining movies that audiences liked. He made the kinds of movies that you happen upon while channel-surfing and end up watching all the way to the end, even if you've seen them multiple times already. If you stumble on something like this scene from 1995's CRIMSON TIDE, there's no way you're not watching the rest of the movie.
While Scott served as a producer (through he and Ridley's Scott Free Productions) on a few projects that have yet to be released, the riveting 2010 runaway train thriller UNSTOPPABLE, starring his favorite actor Denzel Washington, is as good a film as any for him to go out on. Tony Scott movies have been such a common presence for the last 30 years that it's hard to believe there won't be any more.
**UPDATE: Tony Scott's family has denied that he was suffering from brain cancer.**
|THE HUNGER (1983)|
|TOP GUN (1986)|
|BEVERLY HILLS COP II (1987)|
|DAYS OF THUNDER (1990)|
|THE LAST BOY SCOUT (1991)|
|TRUE ROMANCE (1993)|
|CRIMSON TIDE (1995)|
|THE FAN (1996)|
|ENEMY OF THE STATE (1998)|
|SPY GAME (2001)|
|MAN ON FIRE (2004)|
|DEJA VU (2006)|
|THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3 (2009)|