Wednesday, September 25, 2013

892. HEAT (1995)

Running Time: 171 minutes
Directed By: Michael Mann
Written By: Michael Mann
Main Cast: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore
Click here to view the trailer


So this was coming up real soon anyway and since I just got through watching six straight Robert De Niro flicks, I figured I'd might as well make it a lucky seven and watch "Heat" too.

So if you're not familiar with "Heat", it's probably the best straight crime movie (and I'm talking cops and robbers, shoot 'em up style stuff here) to come down the pike in the last, oh, say twenty - thirty years. Actually, that's a bold statement and I'm surely forgetting something, but let's just go with it for now. You've got Vincent Hanna (Pacino), the good guy cop, who is working on failed marriage number three - a detective who sacrifices sleep and family to catch the bad guys and lock them away. Then there's the other side of the spectrum and Neil McCauley (De Niro), a brutal criminal and an ace professional who lives by the philosophy of "never having anything in your life that you're not prepared to walk out on in thirty seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner". The film starts with an armored truck heist, but McCauley and crew, including Chris (Kilmer) and Cherrito (Sizemore). That gets the cops' attention and the cat & mouse game is on. The film is paced quite nicely for a three hour affair, so that we're given equal portions of important scenes, so that we're not forced to sludge through chunks of boring and meaningless material. Neil ends up meeting a girl, one whom he eventually develops strong feelings for and one that he may not be willing to walk out on in thirty seconds. Meanwhile, Vincent's marriage is crumbling, but his admiration for Neil keeps him on the streets.

It's a crime flick, ladies & gentlemen - need I say more. There's cops, there's bad guys and they play like cowboys and Indians in the street and that's really all you need know. Plus it's got Pacino and De Niro; that should be more than enough to skyrocket this classic to the top of your Netflix queue, especially if you haven't seen it. Let's talk about Pacino and De Niro for a second and who comes off as the better actor. Well it may be the recent intake of "Taxi Driver", "Raging Bull" and other fantastic De Niro films, but I tended to lean more toward the De Niro performance here. Granted, I used to be Camp Pacino all the way, but, like I've said a thousand times before, THE BOOK will do wacky things to your cinematic taste buds and sometimes flip you to the exact opposite opinion. De Niro's Neil is a lot more reserved, cool, held back than Pacino's sometimes over the top Det. Hanna. De Niro knows when to turn up the volume and when to get a little more rambunctious and I liked that self control on his part.

As far as the story, like I said in the plot synopsis, the film never leaves you waiting for the next piece of the puzzle. It paces itself like a marathon runner, so that the viewer always gets a little something to tide them over until the next big rush of excitement. You've got the opening armored car heist then we get some story, then at about the halfway mark you get the bank robbery and the death of some key characters up to that point and then you get the rest of the story. It's beautifully paced and as someone who as seen a lot of long movies that haven't been well paced, I appreciated that.

Look it's just a great movie. It's a mainstream hit that actually delivers quality results. I still remember the first time I saw it. It never gets too complicated, like some police/detective/criminal movies do. We're given simple facts to deal with and left with only the responsibility of having a good time at the movies. Also, if you're any sort of movie fan, then the pairing of De Niro and Pacino will be a fascinating one. I think I'm correct in thinking that this is the first film they did together and to watch them go, within the confines of the same film, is like watching Picasso and Rembrandt do a painting together.

RATING: 8/10  Very good, but De Niro impressed more with his earlier Scorsese offerings. Still though, if you've never seen this go and see it like right now.


September 25, 2013  1:10pm


  1. My favorite movie of all time. I know your not really supposed to care if others agree with you or not but there's always a satisfying feeling when someone says they like your favorite movie. Good review as always.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. Glad you liked it.


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