Existentialism and Social Engagement in the Films of Michael Mann

Published by Palgrave Macmillan

Michael Mann has delivered some of the most intelligent and complex Hollywood films of recent decades, including ManhunterHeatThe Insider and Collateral. This book argues that the films of this important director are best understood as existential dramas, engaging critically with existentialist philosophy and its place within the societies Michael Mann depicts. His protagonists exhibit both the benefits and difficulties of an existential way of life, especially problems with social engagement experienced by the conflicted male characters. From Thief to The Last of the Mohicans and Miami Vice, this study illuminates the philosophical complexities of Michael Mann’s films.


‘Vincent Gaine’s book is an object lesson in using philosophy to study cinema, persuasively arguing through close reading that the apparently disparate output of director Michael Mann is really a coherent body of film held together by existentialist themes.’ – Jerry Goodenough, University of East Anglia, UK