Home > Film & stuff > In Memory of Tony Scott (1944-2012)

In Memory of Tony Scott (1944-2012)

I was very sad to hear about the death of Tony Scott. Reports are saying that he apparently committed suicide by jumping from the Vincent Thomas Bridge, which I believe is south of Los Angeles. He was 68 years old.

I’ve always liked Scott’s films. Not an arthouse type by any stretch of the imagination, his films were typically action-packed and full of fun performances by big name stars. His brother, Ridley, is probably the more acclaimed of the two, but Tony’s films possess a kinetic urgency and visual flair that are a blast to watch when firing on all cylinders. The fact that he killed himself is even more depressing considering the palpable joy that he seemed to pour into his work.

I have no idea what his reasons were for doing what he did. From a moviegoer’s perspective, Scott was a great success, a man who managed to bring popcorn flicks to a more entertaining level than most are capable. It’s a shame he felt that it all had to end. I doubt whatever details emerge in the coming days about the events leading up to his death will bring much of a satisfying explanation.

He was a prolific director and producer of both film and television, so I won’t ramble on with a history here. However, I would like to single out a few of my personal favorite Tony Scott directed films. These are all movies I’ve seen multiple times and I’ll always find them entertaining.

  • True Romance (1993): Before Pulp Fiction came out in ’94 and after the release of Reservoir Dogs in ’92, Quentin Tarantino’s True Romance script was produced with Scott at the helm. He’d already shown his penchant for quality, grandiose action sequences with Top Gun and Days of Thunder, but True Romance was a decidedly more talkie film for Scott to tackle. He did an admirable with QT’s dialogue, and one of the great all-time movie speeches was born when Scott paired up Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper for a verbal showdown. See below (fair warning: it’s a little racially insensitive…):
  • Crimson Tide (1995): Denzel Washington was a frequent collaborator with Scott and Crimson Tide was the first of these films. Gene Hackman co-stars as Washington’s commander on a nuclear submarine. It’s a claustrophobic film (no shit, it’s on a submarine) and the suspense and tension are ratcheted up to an 11 when Hackman and Washington start to have a battle of ethical wills. Confined to a tight space, Scott again shows his ability to direct quality dialogue with heavyweight actors in this underrated military thriller. I think my dad and I probably watched this over a dozen times and I still love seeing these legendary actors duke it out.
  • Enemy of the State (1998): There probably isn’t a legion of Enemy of the State fans out there, but this is a fun action-thriller that once again pairs director Scott with Hackman. This time a post-Independence Day Will Smith leads the way as a D.C. attorney who becomes embroiled in a political assassination/government conspiracy. I have particularly fond memories of this film since my mom and I went to see it in theaters… I think I skipped school that day. It’s a fun chase movie buoyed by an eclectic supporting cast that includes Jon Voight, Barry Pepper, Jack Black, Tom Sizemore, Scott Caan, Regina Hall, and Seth Green. If you never saw it when it came out, give it a shot– it seems to be on FX every other week. It also has a helluva trailer:
  • Man on Fire (2004): I love revenge films and Man on Fire is a great one. It’s dark, violent, and looks gritty as hell. Denzel and Scott team up again for this story about a burned out security expert/bad ass/alcoholic who’s hired by a wealthy family to protect their young daughter (Dakota Fanning) while they live in Mexico City. Denzel is one dangerous man in this movie and when the young girl disappears, he goes on a bloody rampage to exact vengeance (plastic explosives packed up the ass of one bad guy makes for a particularly ruthless death scene). Blending great action and suspense with some truly moving drama, Man on Fire is a real standout in Scott’s filmography and it’s one of Washington’s most underrated roles. Check out one of his “enhanced interrogation” scenes below if you don’t mind a bit of blood splatter:
  • Domino (2005): I tend to be alone in my defense of this one. Domino is a non-stop action flick that’s hyper-stylized beyond anything Scott ever directed… and it works for me. It’s a blast. It’s ambitious, loud, and pretty damn funny, not to mention that it’s based on a true story (kinda… barely). The film follows a sexy young woman (well-played by Keira Knightley) who teams up with hardened bounty hunter vets (Mickey Rourke and Edgar Ramirez) in order to learn the ropes. They make quite a trio. Something happens with the mob and the DMV and blah blah blah… it doesn’t matter. The movie is just a fun action-fest full of colorful characters and great dark humor.

What a sad loss. Tony Scott left some great movies behind and it’s a shame we won’t get to see more of what he had to offer.

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  1. Not Guilty Gary B
    August 20, 2012 at 8:51 am

    How sad. We had some great memories watching some of these movies together.

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