It's rare that we write obituaries here, but the passing of Tony Scott is so noteworthy it would be strange to not cover it. The brother of Ridley Scott and director of well over a dozen films - some of which are undeniably great - today killed himself near Long Beach, just south of Los Angeles. At 12:30 pm Scott parked his Prius on the San Vincent Bridge and, according to The Daily Breeze, jumped "without hesitation." His body was later recovered and the Los Angeles County coroner identified the remains as Anthony David Scott of Beverly Hills, which KTLA is reporting as Tony Scott, the director.
What a terrible tragedy. Scott, like his brother, was up there in years but remained busy as a director. He had a Top Gun sequel in the works, and continued as a producing partner at Scott Free, where he oversaw the upcoming Coma miniseries.
We can argue about Scott's later work, but the man remained vibrant in a way that few other directors his age ever manage. Scott pushed the envelope with his kinetic style - sometimes too far, like in Domino, but sometimes to reasonable effect, like in Unstoppable. His earlier work is dotted with true greatness - Top Gun is a generation-defining movie, but The Hunger, starring David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve and a young Susan Sarandon, is one of the sexiest vampire stories ever, and a strange kind of masterpiece. I like a lot of his mid-period stuff, from the obvious notes of True Romance to the unappreciated Spy Game. Enemy of the State was stylistically and politically prescient. The Last Boy Scout is, simply, a masterpiece of mainstream 90s filmmaking.
And those are just some of my favorites. Days of Thunder, Crimson Tide, Man on Fire - there are more films in his history that are worth revisiting.
This seems like the least likely way for Tony Scott to die. But the reality is that depression is not always an obvious illness. You probably never met Tony Scott, but his death can still impact you if it makes you more aware of the people around you who might be silently suffering. Or, more personally, if it shows you the pain suicide causes others. Tony Scott today didn't just leave behind filmmaking, he left behind a wife and two children.