L. A. TAKEDOWN is an extremely watchable film, and has a script that is permeated by a kind of grim intelligence. The characters, far from being plastic stereotypes, actually engage on a psychological level. Michael Mann directs with considerable skill, and most tellingly, knows how to use music to maximum effect. In this respect, his ability at times almost reaches the genius level of the Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo. But main honours in this film must go to Alex McArthur who gives an amazing performance of such skill and power that he actually conveys the very thoughts and feelings of his character through body language or facial expression. The scene where the two protagonists (the hoodlum and the cop) have coffee together is almost faultless in conveying the powerful emotions and tensions that are at work between them, as well as the mind-set which motivates each of the characters, and, for once, the various love scenes are convincing and important to the development of the narrative. Interestingly too, (although it perhaps happened by default since it was a film made for television), the actual violence that is a necessary part of the story is rendered perhaps even more powerfully by NOT being shown, or by happening off-camera. But to my mind, the film belongs to Alex McArthur who turns in one of the best acting performances I have seen in a very long time, which is able to make you both loathe and feel pity for his character at one and the same time. No mean feat!