Deckard🥃’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Directors Series-Part II: The Michael Mann Retrospective
"There is a flip side to that coin. What if you do got me boxed in and I gotta put you down? Cause no matter what, you will not get in my way. We've been face to face, yeah. But I will not hesitate. Not for a second."
If you haven't seen Michael Mann's Heat, you are seriously doing yourself a disservice, if you have seen it and you do not like it, then we have some MAJOR problems. Heat is easily one of my favorite films from Mann and is simply a masterpiece.
Robert De Niro plays Neil McCauley, an armed robber taking down large scores with a tough, yet tight crew that includes Tom Sizemore, Danny Trejo, and Val Kilmer. After taking down an armored car, Lt. Detective Vincent Hanna, played by Al Pacino has been tasked with the apprehension of the crew.
Heat is a definitive heist film for me, but it's also more than a heist film, it's what the tagline says, "A Los Angeles Crime Saga". It follows two types of people, one good and the other bad, and the types of lives they lead. With Pacino, he plays the hard boiled (pun not intended) detective who practically lives and dies by the badge. He finds it difficult to hold a marriage because he is so committed to the job. With De Niro he too is committed to what he does, but because of what he does, he cannot have a woman due to the nature of the things he does. In a way, both men respectful each other because of how well they handle things and how professional they are. The buildup to their initial scene is fantastic and the scene they have in the diner is just nothing short of amazing.
The script is just perfect in every way, from the amount of detail that goes into the heists, to police procedures, to the dialogue that is just rich, and the engaging action scenes. It's part action, part thriller, and part drama. For three hours you are constantly on the edge of your seat, waiting for the next move from both sides, wondering what's going to happen. All the action scenes are handled extremely well and are very engaging, especially the climatic downtown L.A. shootout. The dialoge exchanges between De Niro and Pacino just flow naturally and they feed off of their energy together.
The technical points of the film, the cinematography, while it's certainly not as visual as say Thief or Manhunter, but the opening shot of the film is just so brilliant, it's so simple yet beautiful. The action scenes are a prime example of how to film one and still be engaged. No shaky cam, no frantic editing, just a good ol' fashioned shootout that just looks well. The editing for a near three hour film is outstanding, it never dreads and it never speeds up, it starts and it ends and your invested from beginning to end.
There is not much else to say, other than I still stand by my statement; Heat is a masterpiece. A modern one, and though it's nearly twenty years old, it still holds its ground quite well. For me, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this film. I can watch it over and over again and still be as invested in, why? Because I fucking love this film.
"A guy told me one time, 'don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in thirty seconds flat if you feel the heat coming around the corner.'"