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You know that feeling of having seen it about 3 or 4 times in the last 12 months is not enough? That's what I feel at the moment.
I rate it as Mann's best. It's his most kinetic,vibrant(for a film mostly shot in steely blue),agonising,stirring,brash,violent and brilliance in such a simple story.
What games did you play as a young kid? Cops and robbers.Good guy.Bad guy.
We all know De Niro and Pacino could have been either main part,but can you imagine it any other way round. Pacino doing ice cool calm? De Niro the manic outbursts,arms flailing? It wouldn't work. We know these men now.We know neither will stop at what they do.And yet there is no way either would stop the other.Unless they had too. Which leads us too the characters. All of them.
This is an extended family where you feel you know all of them without knowing anything at all. The cops are similar to the robbers and vice-versa. Perhaps Mann is telling us were all the same.Except in what we do.Every speaking part holds substance in this movie, and the support cast is astonishing when you actually read the caliber of who appeared in this film.Tom Sizmore, Val Kilmer,Ashley Judd,Ted Levine,Wes Studi,Hank Azaria,William Fitchner,Henry Rollins,Dennis Haysbert,Tom Noonan. And Natalie Portman, for chrissake! Try getting that cast again.
A real 10/10 film. And that Moby song at the end(God moving over the face of waters) gets me every time.
Perhaps the most unique feature of this movie is its manifold storyline, which focuses primarily on the main characters: Vincent Hanna and Neil McCauley. Because of this complex storyline, it almost seems as if one is watching two movies, with one about each of the two characters. While following Hanna's personal life, the movie shows how it is about more than just a cop in pursuit of a criminal. Hanna's marriage is deteriorating, his step daughter is falling apart, and, as wife Justine says, he lives his life more among the "remnants of dead people." A man of two other failed marriages, Hanna's story is that of the strain of trying to fulfill both his professional and personal, where, every time, the professional wins out. Neil McCauley's story is that of a man who used to know his role: his job. Everything in his life revolved around making the next score (whether it be large or small). His story chronicles his relationships with the other men in his crew, and his relationship with Eady, his girlfriend who does not know all she should about him. The tensions build as Mann shows the two opposing strategies of each man as their paths (and thus their stories) draw closer together. When the two storylines do meet (at different points in the movie), the result is--for lack of a better word--epic. To say that these two major storylines are the only strong ones of the movie would do injustice to the many others (following Chris and his wife, for example); but to say that they are the driving force of the movie, to say that they are responsible for transforming a typical cops-and-robbers story is the best explanation.
In addition, the characters in this movie undoubtedly make it so successful. This cast comes as close as possible to being ensemble with two such huge main characters. And the cast is one of the best, at that. DeNiro. Little more needs to be said. Ever the master, his character, McCauley, can be on the one hand a ruthless robber and cold-hearted killer, on the other a warm friend and tender lover. And, despite his life of crime, McCauley's human side shows through. He will not kill unless he must, as seen through his anger at Waingro and bank heist. His warmer side shows through his relationships with his friends and girlfriend Eady. Pacino. Equally without need of praise. As always, he delivers an intense performance, here as Hanna, a workaholic obsessed with catching his man, while also fighting a losing battle to save his personal relationships. He may seem just the harsh cop, but he cares about every man under his command, about his stepdaughter, and, yes, even about McCauley. Through Hanna, Pacino shows just how torn such a man can be. Hanna demonstrates both coldness and compassion, both anger and sensitivity. Additionally strong is Val Kilmer, as Chris Shiherlis; with a raging temper, undying devotion, and a fierce will to persevere. Kilmer does an excellent job with the character of a flawed individual, whose flaws prevent him from lasting contentment, but against which flaws he continually strives. Ashley Judd is an unforgettable Charlene Shiherlis, who, despite a smaller roll, makes a lasting impression on the film. Tom Sizemore, as the implacable Michael Cheritto, and Jon Voight, as a gruff Nate, are both likeable (because of their human sides) and despicable (because of their professions). Each does excellent work. And equally fine are Diane Venora, as Justine, and Natalie Portman, as Justine's daughter Lauren. As Venora is strong opposite Pacino, so Amy Brenneman, Eady, is an equally strong opposite of DeNiro. In a cast so full of big names, it is so rewarding to see everyone come together to make the characters each have their own place in the film.
And Michael Mann's direction of the movie keeps the film moving while providing a tremendous combination of action and drama. He moves from scene to scene quickly and effortlessly. He also switches between the many storylines logically and fluidly, none of the story being lost. Each scene leaves its own, unmistakable impression, and each scene of each storyline builds upon the previous. Action scenes are handles crisply but grittily. The gunshots are loud, the blood is abundant, but Mann wisely does not linger on the horror of the moment. He paints a realistic picture, but keeps to the topic. The action never becomes more important than the drama. Mann is also responsible for what is perhaps the greatest robbery scene ever. Here, his more gritty sense of style is what makes this scene so believable. And, despite the enormous cast, Mann was still able to keep his agenda clear, and orchestrate so much talent into a coherent movie. Michael Mann deserves credit for both his vision and ability to express it.
Because of these and other well done aspects, 'Heat' is one of the most powerful crime dramas ever made.
Those who criticized the film at the time of its release found particular fault with the climax. They cynically deemed the clasping of hands between the two opponents as a overly sentimental gesture. While it is sentimental, the scene is a neat capsulation of their relationship, however unexplored, throughout the film. They have acted as the hunter and his prey; yet, they finally realize that they are kindred spirits - dedicated men who put their chosen profession above all else in their lives. They are aware of the opportunities for "normalcy" they have sacrificed for their obsessions (I love DeNiro's line in the diner on what's normal) and hold each other in high regard because they share the same pain and isolation. I think "Heat" has a beautiful ending, enhanced by Moby's elegiac "God Moving Over The Face Of The Waters"
I don't put much stock in the Academy Awards in terms of evaluating a film's worth, but it was a true disgrace that "Braveheart" was chosen Best Picture in 1995. "Heat" was not even nominated! Hopefully, the Academy voters will right this error with Mann's equally powerful "Insider" at this year's ceremonies.
Don't be scared off by "Heat"'s running time or by criticism that its too indulgent in its character studies. It is precisely the film's attention to developing its characters that sets it apart from every other by-the-numbers Hollywood crime film of this era and makes "Heat" a classic.
This movie made modern-day history because it was the first time two of the great actors of this generation - Pacino and Robert De Niro - finally acted together in the same film. Those two didn't disappoint, either. They were great to watch and one of the huge highlights of the film, to me, was when they faced each other in a simple conversation over a cup of coffee. That conversation has always fascinated me, no matter how many times I've heard it. It was such a "landmark" scene that It's even the subject of a short documentary on the special-edition DVD.
As with the conversation scene, the shootout segment in the streets of Los Angeles still astounds me no matter how many times I see it. The other action scenes are intense and memorable, too, and the cast in here is deep. This isn't just Pacino and De Niro. It's Val Kilmer, Ashley Judd, Jon Voight, Diana Venora, Natlie Portman, Tom Sizemore, Amy Brenamann, Wes Studi, Ted Levine, Mykelti Williamson, on and on.
Put that fabulous cast under Michael Mann, one of the best directors in business, add a great soundtrack and interesting camera-work and you have a great film. At three hours long, it never bores one and at same time, doesn't overdo the action, either. I read one critic criticize this film because of the time taken to examine the personal lives of the main characters, but you can't have three hours of nothing but action. The only scene I felt went on a bit too long was the ending chase at the airport, but that's nitpicking considering the film as a whole.
This is just one of those movies where a great cast and director live up to their billing.
This movie has a great plot, brilliant story about two lead characters a professional master thief Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) battling Lt. Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) LAPD robbery-homicide detective in this non-stop race against time heist. Michael Mann did everything with this film, he wrote the screenplay, produced this movie and directed it. Michael Mann is a brilliant director I love Miami Vice TV Series, Manhunter and Collateral.
This movie is the real heist movie un like Point Break and Baby Driver this movie deserves a 10, because it takes the vision of one of the most imaginative directors on Earth, and realizes them almost perfectly with all the tools that fit the task -- actors and great stunts. Without the vision, this film would be nothing. Without the tools, this film would be nothing.
Al Pacino stars in the film as Vincent Hanna, a relentless lieutenant in the LAPD's Robbery Homicide Division who is determined to take down a high end robbery crew led by master thief Neil McCauley (De Niro).
Notable for its detailed depiction of the techniques used by both law enforcement and criminal elements, as well as exceptional and accurate gun handling, the film was first made as the 1989 television movie L.A. Takedown. Heat also was reported to have been viewed repeatedly by the "High Incident Bandits" robbery duo involved in the infamous North Hollywood shootout (as depicted in the film 44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shootout).
Lt. Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) LAPD robbery-homicide detective was a great character cop. He was at least MILES way better than Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) FBI rookie Agent in Point Break that movie sucked! Lt. Vincent Hanna shoot and killed Michael Cheritto (Tom Sizemore) and he saved a child. He cracked the case and he figure it out who the mask robbers were. In the climatic epic battle fight on the end of the film on the airport field he shoot and killed Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro). He destroyed and hunt down McCauley's crew. True two got away but he always got his man. He at least didn't let go McCauley like Johnny Utah did, letting go Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) and he did not arrest or shoot or kill any of Bodhi's men he let them all go. Lt. Vincent Hanna is a hero and veteran police officer to me.
Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro), as a professional thief was smart, intelligent, high profile criminal with no criminal record. He was the mastermind behind the robberies, he knew what he was doing. He was a murderer and he did what he know best. He at least wasn't like stupid dumb idiot Bodhi from Point Break, he was trying to get away but he always settle a score with everyone that double crossed him. It is wrong to messing with him. By the end that way leaded him to his end, he made a mistake when he went after Waingro (Kevin Gage).
The movie has also one of the greatest shootouts in L.A. in which Shiherlis (Val Kilmer), Cheritto (Tom Sizemore) McCauley (Robert De Niro) firing Colt Model 733 automatic riffle on the cops. Great shootout's I love it.
The movie has great famous cast: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Ashley Judd, Mykelti Williamson, Ted Levine, Dennis Haysbert, William Fichtner, Natalie Portman, Tom Noonan, Kevin Gage, Danny Trejo, Hank Azaria, Martin Ferrero and Xander Berkeley a lot of famous actors and actresses were extra in this movie.
The movie focus on a real human characters that they are ordinary people with normal life's like you and me. That is why I love this film to death! It is realistic performed and it has no jokes or fantasy or anything it is real life. I love Al Pacino and Robert De Niro's performance they both fit the task and accomplish their acting their characters.
Heat is the 1995 crime drama directed by Michael Mann and marked the first on screen pairing of legendary actors Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.
10/10 My all time personal favorite action heist masterpiece Michael Mann film of all time, this movie kicks ass.
It's a long film but there is not one wasted scene in it. Even the incidental story lines - for example, the recently paroled ex-cell mate of Deniro whose first job is in a "grill" working for a nasty, exploitative boss and then ends-up as a stand-in getaway driver for Deniros crew. It just adds weight to the whole film. All the domestic dramas of the good-guys and the bad-guys that you wouldn't get in the typical cops and robbers film are shown in loving detail and nothing is rushed. Just makes it a more satisfying and involving film.
Mann who started his career on Miami Vice almost seems to be taking a trip back to the eighties with the soundtrack and styling of the film - almost but not quite.
If you still don't want to see the film after this then what the hell's wrong with you?! Sit back and enjoy. Also - no. 247 in the top 250?? Whats up with that???
What do you want to hear about 'Heat'. Is it DeNiro's best performance? No. Is it Pacino's best performance? I'd be lying if I said it was. Do the performances improve the story? Absolutely. Mann has written (he wrote it as well) a complex and exciting two-sided story that develops the hunter Vincent Hanna (Pacino) and the hunted Neil McCauley (De Niro) separately throughout much of the film. Underneath a hail of bullets Mann is able to paint both lead characters with the same brush by delving into the similarly tragic and chaotic personal lives of Hanna and McCauley, allowing for the final epic scene, which would have been too pretentious if it were not for the excellent performances of Pacino and De Niro.
Bottom Line: Not having seen this movie is akin to idiocy for anyone claiming to be a fan of movies. 9 out of 10
The main problem is with the selling point, which is of course the "Al Pacino- De Niro relationship". Here's the problem: no cop who does this job out of conviction could possibly respect/admire a criminal, especially one who has killed other police officers. So the ending is absurd and downright ludicrous. The famous coffee-shop scene that Pacino and De Niro share is ridiculous and pointless, entirely made for us, the viewers. At the public request, we present you Pacino and De Niro, face to face! The clash of the titans!
Not only there is no way in hell that a committed policeman would casually sit and chat with a criminal over coffee, but what they have to say is so silly sharing thoughts about their messed-up private lives? Pacino trying to talk De Niro out of the bank robbery business? Seriously? Such a lame excuse to deliver the much anticipated De Niro- Pacino "moment"... The writing is terrible in this scene, as De Niro is also restating something he'd said earlier, therefore diminishing the impact of that line. Another example of bad writing and poor characterization is a scene where Jon Voight warns De Niro about Pacino's tenacity.
The constant shift to everybody's private lives was annoying and turned the whole thing into a crime-opera cheesefest. How many times have we seen the "frustrated cop's wife" act? And who cares about the bank robber's problems with his beloved wife, whom he occasionally cheats on? Oh, yeah, bank robbers are capable of love too. Touching! Talking about unlikelihood, De Niro's "romance" was laughable, and so was the transformation of an innocent librarian into an accessory to murder. The way Amy Brenneman switches from horror at what De Niro did to the "Oh, well, he's cute anyway" is hysterical. Moral relativism is an interesting topic for sure, but not here. There are moments that we're supposed to find moving, like the miscast Ashley Judd shedding a tear on the balcony or the cop hero Pacino holding hands with a criminal... What a joke.
The movie does contain some entertaining moments (although highly improbable), like the robbery scene. There's no way the Police would get into a shootout like that with so many civilians around. The suicide attempt scene is unnecessary and forced, and there are other flaws and extremely far-fetched/illogical scenes throughout, like DeNiro & the gang gracefully passing through police check-points without even wearing a disguise, just hours after the bloody robbery.
"Heat" is fairly entertaining only if you can ignore its inconsistencies and plot holes. The more I watch, the more I find it insulting to one's intelligence. I know it's "just a movie", but come on... it's a 3-hour movie, and such an amount of implausible developments make suspension of disbelief pretty hard. I swear, if Pacino had shed a tear in the end, I would have rated "Heat" with 10 stars and put it on my all time favorite "so bad they're good" list.
While I wouldn't characterize the acting as bad, I can't think of anyone in this movie who gave a performance that is among their better ones. Al Pacino is practically a caricature of himself the entire time. He overacts in every scene and he yells about half of his lines. Robert Deniro has the same scowl on his face and speaks in pretty much the same voice for the whole movie. Pacino and Deniro fans looking for some "tough guy" porn will find plenty of it here.
Ultimately, Heat is a movie that could have been made better by cutting about half the content. It is loaded with characters that are poorly developed, but are dramatically presented as if you are supposed to give a crap about any of them. One of them gets killed after about four minutes of screen time, and after that, we see his grieving wife. Rather than cry with her, I just kind of rolled my eyes. Another gang members death is presented with the drama akin to a squad mate getting killed in a war movie. I could have cared less. Val Kilmer's subplot centers around the tenuous relationship that he has with his wife. Al Pacino has a lousy third marriage and Robert Deniro somehow manages to have a romance side plot that is neither relevant nor believable.
There is even a suicide attempt scene that has nothing whatsoever to do with the story a diversion that will have you scratching your head, wondering why so much celluloid was wasted on it. Without exception, every single scene with a female in it could have been left on the cutting room floor, and not one shred of value would have been lost. None of the characters are sympathetic or well developed enough for you to want to see their romances work or to be able to share their pain. It would have worked well maybe in a television series where you would have more time to develop the characters, but here, all of the side plot material is really boring.
One of the draws of this movie seems to be that it is a "realistic" and non ideal take on human behavior. Okay, I get that, but if you are going to go with the "realistic" approach, then don't ruin it with the occasional unbelievable scene or plot hole. The biggest offender is the famous bank robbery scene in the middle of the movie. It would have been spectacular in an action movie that didn't take itself seriously. But in Heat, I couldn't stop thinking about how absurd it was that a few guys with automatic weapons were able to cut through the entire LAPD like a hot knife through butter, escaping clean in the process. I still greatly enjoyed that scene, largely because it's just a great action scene that is well choreographed and shot. However, it's sort of out of place in this film.
I'll give Heat some credit for not being a by-the-numbers cops and robbers movie. Maybe it is this uniqueness and the time of its release that made it so popular. Upon reflection though, there have been many crime and caper movies over the past few decades that are more entertaining than this one. Scarface, Reservoir Dogs, The Usual Suspects, to name but a few. While I didn't hate this movie, I certainly don't think that it deserves a place in the Top 10 greatest crime dramas.
The fusion of Robert De Niro and Neil McCauley is so total He's committed to the rigidity of that perspective and it's a heartbreaking role It's a tragic character In his world, what he's doing, he feels justified in doing it McCauley has a quiet look at a thief who has a certain kind of lonely disregard for who he kills but yet somehow you're in touch with his humanity We can identify him when all that robbery turns out badly and when his lover Eady (Amy Brenneman) tries to escape from him Brenneman's part was the hope that De Niro's character could have of escape, and love, and forgiveness There's something so sad about these people and so poignant They are so lost, and they want to be found so badly It's like a huge opera On one level, the film deals with a crime saga, on the other, with the interpersonal relationships that are woven all these characters In the Pacino character and in the De Niro character you're basically seeing two sides of the same tough man
Then I read the reviews here and I am even more stunned. If you eliminate the horrific Pacino/Deniro scene you have a decent movie. Perhaps I would have given it a 5. Plot lines that were meaningless. A movie that tried very, very hard to be something more than it is, or was. Over direction. And the rest of the script wasn't Shakespeare either. It wasn't just the "big" scene. It was all of them. Kilmer's part was comical. I don't think that was the intent.
Anyway, I suppose, based on the unbelievable reviews for this movie here, I am in the vast minority. So if you haven't seen it yet all I would say is this. If we assume you have some degree of film intellect, then do not expect to see what you read in some of these reviews. If you go in not expecting much you may very well enjoy this very ordinary movie. if you go in expected the "Best movie of the 90s" or a "masterpiece" you may be sorely disappointed. I will laugh about these reviews for days. Utterly amazing otherwise intelligent people could be hypnotized by the hype of this film. Guys, at best it's a 5 out of 10.
You can look at a masterwork by Rembrandt or Michelangelo endlessly and enjoy the beauty, the figures, the colors, the light And many of us do. But once you 'get' what the work of art is all about, once you connect it to the great themes in life, one's own life, it becomes deeply touching. Often what it's all about is deeply buried in layers upon layers of craftsmanship and sheer beauty. One becomes fascinated, one feels strong emotions, but one has to dig deep to explain why. The greater the mastery of the artist, the deeper one has to dig. The richer the treasures deep beneath the surface. So Michael Mann's mastery, for all its perfection, is only underpinning something of a higher order.
In fact Heat has exactly the same essence as Ali, The Insider, Last of the Mohicans, Collateral and Thief. These movies, although superficially very different, are really quite similar in their core. They are all about making life-changing choices between different loyalties. Ultimate dilemmas. Heat is the most complex of all these movies in this respect and therefore in my opinion the greatest.
What makes Mann's characters so fascinating? They rise to the occasion when facing 'heat': extremely adverse and often violent circumstances. They all face dilemmas, life-changing choices. They need to do the right thing, no matter how slim the chance of success, knowing they have to give up something else which is a good thing too.
Vincent Hanna is not simply a workaholic. He gives up life as most of us know it (marriage, caring for his stepdaughter, 'barbeques and ballgames') because he knows he is such a gifted policeman that he can put away criminals behind bars, who will otherwise keep on killing the innocent people that haunt him in his dreams. But he can only defeat his adversaries if he is dedicated at the moments of truth. And he suffers for his dedication in all other realms of life.
Neil McCauley forgoes normal life as well to be a perfect criminal and never be returned to jail, but starts feeling the cost of that only after falling in love, against his principles. He knows he can only stay out of jail when not attached to anyone or anything. (Therefore his home isn't even furnished.) To him that is the right thing to do. See, the values of Mann's characters are not necessarily 'right' or absolute values. Criminals have values too and their dilemmas can be just as difficult. After falling in love he feels a dilemma. And becomes much more human, albeit on the other side of the law.
Why are some of the truly evil characters in Mann's movies so utterly evil? Because they are dedicated, but don't see the dilemma. They have chosen for their own ego, and pursue at any cost whatever drive they have, usually power and money (Van Zant, Insider's Thomas Sandefur, Thief's Leo), but alternatively perverse violence (Waingro) or revenge (Mohicans' Magua). They, directly or indirectly provide the 'heat' that make the more sympathetic characters have to choose whatever they think is 'the right thing'.
Heat is stuffed with life-changing choices. Once you pay attention, it seems as if almost every other line in the movie has a question mark attached to it. 'Check, charge or cash?', are the first words in the movie. Not exactly life changing, OK, but a hint of all the choices to come . 'You taking me to breakfast?' follows shortly afterward. Less trivial. Then, every character is faced with choices between loyalties.
All the most memorable moments in the film are about choices. Often very complex dilemmas. Charlene Shiherlis first chooses to betray her husband Chris to secure her son's future, but then when given the chance saves Chris's ass at the cost of probably never seeing him again. Neil drives through the tunnel with Eady on his way to freedom and ponders the idea to return and kill Waingro. De Niro's face shows the dilemma between loyalty one: getting away with his love, and loyalty two: revenge for Waingro's actions which have devastated his crew, with Chris wounded and on the run, Michael killed by Hanna in the shootout, Trejo tortured and mortally wounded (being subsequently put out of his misery by Neil himself) and Trejo's wife Anna violated and murdered. Neil simply cannot walk away from that. He calculates he can avenge his crew and get away afterward. But we later learn the presence of Eady at the hotel where Waingro is finished off, puts Hanna on Neil's tail for the final confrontation.
In short, Mann's movies teach us: doing the right thing isn't straightforward. The choices in life aren't obvious.To do the right thing, you will have to give up what is good too and feel great loss. Doing the right thing doesn't result in a happy ending. You will feel vindicated at best. You may even die in the process.
'I told you I was never going back'.
In the end he does not drop and run. It makes no sense. The ending is forced into the good guy wins Hollywood ending. If he had gotten away it would have made much more sense.
Often when I have have mentioned that this movie is sub-par others have reacted with shock, "Its Pacino and Dinero!," they always reply. Then I ask what makes the movie any good and "Pacino/Dinero" is the only response they can come up with.
Released the same year as Scorsese's "Casino", Michael Mann's "Heat" positions itself as one of the first "neo liberal" gangster movies, all the others still caught in the old framework of mafia patriarchy, family values, loyalty, honour, total adherence to a distinctive creed, blood lines and tribalism. "Heat", in comparison, completely breaks away from these old-fashioned ways. In Mann's film, everyone is an individual in the most extreme sense. The gang is no longer a gang, but a crew of "independent professionals" who just come together for a specific job and then split. In this world, families and friends are non-existent or total charades.
While Don Corleone hid like a king behind his armed guards and giant fences, Mann's gangsters are trapped in a state of perpetual mobility. Like a group of shareholders, they are held together only by the prospect of future revenue. Their arrangement is temporary, pragmatic and lateral. They know that they are interchangeable parts in a larger machine, that there are no guarantees and that nothing lasts. Compared to this, the gangsters of "Goodfellas" and "The Godfather" seem like stagnated sentimentalists, nostalgically trapped in dying communities. While The Corleone's fight over territory and family honour, Mann's guys are only interested in Capital. As DeNiro yells during a bank heist, "We're here for the bank's money, not your money!"
Tellingly, the DeNiro character's creed is one of "zero loyalty". He has a 30-second rule of walking away from anyone, however close he may be emotionally or romantically. The message of the film is thus double edged. It isn't just that the film's final resolution is that "justice prevails" and the bad guys are put away; rather, it is that those who fall, who get caught, are those who failed to live up to the modern creed, which is actually repeated twice in the film: "Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner." In other words, late capitalism and attachment do not mix.
So in this sense, a film like "Heat", though otherwise entirely predictable, essentially a bunch of little boys engaging in idiot machismo one-upmanship posturing (Pacino's obsessive-compulsive manic cop vs DeNiro's cool sociopathic dedication, etc), nevertheless was one of the first films to manifest a fundamental social change. A series like "The Wire" then takes all of this much further, with its attempt to consciously map out the vast and unrepresentable complexity of contemporary neo-liberal capitalism. (In fact, a series like "The Wire", with its sheer scope, complexity and writing credentials, renders ALL gangster and crime movies irrelevant to any serious viewer.)
And so today's gangsters are all "entrepreneurs", all so called "self-made individuals", the "self-employed Petite bourgeoisie", radically without any social links, even down to the kid selling crack to his buddies. This is all a million light years from the long obsolete world of "The Godfather", "Casino" or "Goodfellas". While those elegiac films are about moments that had long passed, Mann's is distinctively modern. This is a film about the 90s. This is a Los Angeles of polished chrome, designer kitchens, featureless freeways, fluorescent bulbs and late night diners. All the colours, sounds, aromas and cultural quirks of Coppola and Scorsese have been torn out, painted over, re-fitted and re-modelled. Mann's LA is a world without landmarks. A vast urban sprawl, all traces of Old Europe replaced by business franchises, multiplexes and multinational coffee shops. While Coppola's film centred around a family called the "Corleone's", their name itself a reference to the village in which they originated, Mann's criminals have bland names like "Neil". They are without history, culture or family ties. In a brilliant touch, Mann even has De Niro reading a book on metals when he first meets his love interest. The guy is a piece of cold, polished steel in a world that is likewise.
Rather than a "rise/fall" structure we also get something a bit different. These criminals get no joy from their profession. Trapped in a world of paranoia, Mann's aesthetic is one of flat glass panes and expansive windows, his criminals always fearing exposure. For Mann, crime becomes a means of escape from the world in its entirety. Crime is total disconnection from both family, society and man, his criminals all looking to amass enough wealth to escape to some idyllic island on the horizon.
But it's Mann's style itself that seduces us. This style, which I call "Armani decorum", owes much to Mann's fondness for such painters and architects as David Hockney, Alex Colville, Edward Hopper and Ed Ruscha (Alex Colville's "Pacific" is visually quoted in one shot). Mann's thus trades the "old noir" look for 1950's modernism, block colours, expansive glass panes, geometric divisions and contemporary, linear houses. His frame is divided into flat surfaces, characters are dressed in pastels, scenes are assigned panels of light and buildings are relentlessly modernist, with fluorescent bulbs and geometrical, flat surfaces. Couple this with his unique choice in music (minimalist, industrial and techno) and you have a very sexy aesthetic.
8.9/10 Dismissed upon release, "Heat" achieved "classic" status a few years later due to young film buffs. As the star status of De Niro and Pacino fades, and films like "Dark Knight" rip off its style, the film seems to be on another downward spiral.
Worth several viewings.
Let's face it, a movie starring Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, (two of my all-time favourite actors), along with John Voight, Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Ashley Judd, Natalie Portman and many, many more, could hardly fail. And it didn't even more so as it was in the hands of one of the masters of the genre, Michael Mann, who wrote and directed it.
The film is a whopping 2 hours 46 minutes, but the time just flew by, leaving me begging for more. Heat is undoubtedly one the definitive films of any era and although it was made twenty years ago, it hasn't dated at all and is still eminently watchable. Okay, the cell phones may have been a little on the large side, but that aside, this movie could have been made last year.
Al Pacino as the hard-bitten cop on a mission and whose personal life is falling apart, and Robert De Niro the tough, no-nonsense criminal genius both play their parts to perfection. These two towering figures of the silver screen are only seen together in two scenes.
The first meeting is about half way through the movie, when they enjoy a cup of coffee together. This is a classic confrontation between 'good and evil'; with both of them acknowledging the unstoppable forces that drive them to do what they do. They even have a grudging respect for each other given the different paths they have chosen in life.
The second time they meet is at the end of the movie when we watch the denouement of these two mesmerizing characters played out to the bitter end.
Pacino and De Niro are totally 'on song' in this film and Mann has written their parts in a way that allows them to excel in what they do best. The supporting cast, with the likes of Kilmer and Voight (both villains), are a joy to behold and the movie is acted by an ensemble of actors that was taken from the best that Hollywood had to offer in the mid - 90's.
Of course, with Mann directing, there is plenty of violence, and a seemingly never-ending shoot-out scene ranks right up there with some of the greatest shoot-outs of all time. To say any more about Heat would spoil the movie for those who haven't yet seen it.
Even if you have, it is well worth another looksie after all these years. Go get the DVD or download it. You will NOT be disappointed.
However, much of the rest of the movie could've been edited out. I always thought it ran a little long. Also, I thought the dialogue could've been better. Am I alone on this? Everyone seems to praise this movie as one of the best they've seen. Am I the only one who thinks the sub-plots, especially those involving the characters' personal lives could've been shortened or eliminated altogether? And that the dialogue was weak, even during that coffee shop scene?
The pacing was slow and, except for a few scenes, the movie was boring. The movie was basically a few great scenes strung together by a lot of weak ones. Despite the movie's flaws, I enjoyed some of the action sequences and the performances of Al Pacino and Robert Dinero. It's too bad they didn't get a better script.
In short, this is an over-rated film that ran too long and that has a couple of great actors and some good action scenes. 7/10 stars.