Saying Goodbye to Tony Scott

I can’t believe I just wrote that headline. Last night, my dear wife, knowing full well that her news would probably affect me strongly, told me about the headline she’d just seen. Stunned, totally disbelieving, I got online and confirmed the news.

Tony Scott, brother of my all-time favorite director Ridley Scott, had thrown himself off a bridge in LA, ending his own life.

I was dumbfounded. Flummoxed. How could this be?

I never met Tony Scott, but through his movies, I felt like I knew him a little. The scenes in Man on Fire where Denzel’s rage is allowed to develop and the light and the frenetic moments– these showed me that Tony Scott had a dramatic and decent heart. Fury is not pleasant; violence should not be glorified. Violence might be a necessity, because you do NOT do terrible things to sweet little girls, but it was not to be glorified.

In Crimson Tide, The Last Boy Scout, and Spy Game, stories about honor, duty, human decency, and determination are told. We also see a respect for sacrifice and a disdain for abuse of authority, hypocrisy, and dishonesty.

I adored Unstoppable. There’s a finely tuned ear that honed the dialogue and the rhythm of the exchanges between characters in that film. There’s an honor, a reverence, for heroism and self-sacrifice. There’s an honesty about people with flaws who find a reason to reach beyond themselves.

Then there’s The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3. I think this is one of Tony Scott’s finest films. Your every day schlub is set back on his heels, confused by sudden brutality, and has to find a way to cope with a maniac. The schlub is weak-kneed, constantly questioning whether he belongs in this situation, but when it comes down to helping people, he steps up.

Ridley Scott is my favorite director of all time. Tony Scott is my second favorite. (FYI, Peter Weir is #3.)

The world has lost a man with a great eye for light, a great head for action and rhythm, and a storyteller of the highest caliber. I don’t know why Tony Scott took his own life. I can’t begin to imagine what pain and/or illness moved him to such a drastic, heartbreaking, final, and tragic step. I send my love and prayers to his family and call upon film-lovers the world over to celebrate Tony Scott and his contributions to the world and the art of film by popping some corn, grabbing a cold beverage, and immersing yourselves in one of his films. Be drawn in by his leads’ heroism, the frenetic action, the character of light, and the sensitivity to sound and silence.

Celebrate him and let your love of his work carry his spirit to a happier place.

I invite all readers to share in the comments your favorite movie experience created by Tony Scott. Feel free to pass this post along; I’d love to bask in everyone’s appreciation of this remarkable artist.