Man of adrenaline who mastered earth, sea, and sky

Nobody ever mistook Tony Scott for a great dramatist.

He was a director critics loved to hate for his slick barrage of images at the expense of story — he did not dazzle the imagination with visions of lost or alien worlds, like his brother Ridley.

Tony was as populist as they come, a man of action films, pure and simple. From Tom Cruise as a daring fly boy in 1986’s Top Gun to Denzel Washington mutinying against an unstable captain in 1995’s Crimson Tide or trying to slow a runaway train in 2010’s Unstoppable, Scott mastered sky, sea, and earth in the name of film adrenaline.

But despite blockbuster success, Tony always was overshadowed by his brother, a three-time directing nominee at the Oscars.

Tony was never in the running for an Oscar: Critics often slammed his films for his emphasis on style over substance. Still, he was the first brother to enjoy blockbuster success with Top Gun, the top-grossing film of 1986. He teamed with Cruise again four years later on Days of Thunder, and made five films with Washington, including Man on Fire and Déjà Vu.

Scott said he gained perspective by mixing between film, TV, and commercials.

“I like changing the pace of my life, changing my discipline,” he said in 2007.

“It gives me ideas for how to see the world differently.”


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