I wasn’t a Tony Scott fan, and indeed, looking at his filmography, I find the only one of his films I’ve actually seen is True Romance. And I saw that because of Quentin Tarantino, who wrote it, not because of Tony Scott (curiously enough, the Tarantino connection never inspired me to see Scott’s Crimson Tide). At that time (mid-90s) I don’t suppose I even knew he was Ridley Scott’s brother (this was slightly too early for the Internet to be around to provide me with such information). Is it fair to say he was perhaps fated to never entirely escape his older brother’s shadow? Maybe, I don’t know. At any rate Tony doesn’t seem to have enjoyed the sort of critical acclaim, nor the knighthood, bestowed on Ridley… but he seems to have had some considerable influence in the industry—apart from that initial stumble with The Hunger it seems to have been a successful career—and some sense of where his talents were best directed too, look at how that filmography is almost all about Big Action (Ridley has been somewhat more diverse by comparison). I like this statement in his IMDB trivia section:
Turned down a chance to direct Beautiful Girls (1996), because he felt he couldn’t do justice to Scott Rosenberg’s script, which placed characterization and dialogue above dramatic event.
Part of me thinks “Ouch, burn”, another part of me admires that sort of self-awareness.
I’m not surprised that there’s been an outpouring of grief from his fans, I’ve seen a fair bit of it on Twitter today. What surprises me is how much the news rattled me. Cos like I said, I’m not a fan; I’ve only seen True Romance and I loved that back in the day, but it never made me want to see more of his films. None of them have ever struck me as the sort of thing I’d be interested in, or maybe it was the critical damnation they generally seemed to attract. I don’t know. I feel like I shouldn’t be as affected by the news as I was, cos there have been plenty of other instances of this sort of thing—and you could probably argue that Mario Monicelli‘s death was a more tragic one—that haven’t affected me except in an abstract way; I recognise it intellectually, “why yes, this is rather a tragedy, isn’t it”, but I don’t really feel it. I felt this a bit more for some reason, and I don’t know why. Maybe it was the method. Jumping two hundred feet off a bridge is kind of, well, definitive; you could fuck up a drug overdose, but not something like that.
I’ve seen the “d” word mentioned in some of the commentary, but I don’t know if that’s actually been made official or if it’s still supposition. I’m sure it’s probably the case, but somehow it doesn’t seem enough, if you know what I mean… you’d think there should be more of an explanation when someone in Tony Scott’s position with a flourishing film and TV career does something like this. I suppose that’s the thing, though, that sort of thing doesn’t really matter if depression gets enough of a grip. It is enough. I don’t really know what else to say, possibly because there isn’t really anything else to be said. I suppose I should actually watch some more of his films, though…