SUPERSAM Reviews | Heat (1995)

I consider Heat to be one of those movies that everyone and their mother tells you, you have to see. That’s why I bought the Blu-ray about a month and a half ago but never got around to watching it until today. And what did I think of it? Honestly, this is one of the better crime dramas I’ve ever seen. Everything, from the performances to the story, to the action sequences beautifully directed by Michael Mann, puts this tale set in the crime-ridden streets of Los Angeles above all other movies in the genre.

I was flabbergasted by just how much attention Mann placed on character development; and not just for Pacino and De Niro’s characters, either. Everyone in this movie, from Hanna and McCauley to side characters like Eady, Nate, Chris, and Waingro, all got their chance to shine at various points in the film, and that was actually refreshing to see. Take, for example, what I think is the best scene in the whole movie: the conversation at the diner between Pacino and De Niro. So much about the theme and the characters is conveyed through one short scene, where the reason Hanna and McCauley are in this violent cat-and-mouse game with each other is no simpler than “This is what I have to do.” And you know what? That’s pretty intriguing. Compare that to more contemporary action films that try to be gritty and realistic, where the main characters, more often than not, are motivated by revenge and nothing else, and you can see why this movie is so superior. Through dialogue, great performances across the board, and proper development, these characters felt real. And because of that, the stakes were a lot higher.
The action is also phenomenally intense. Michael Mann always films these kinds of scenes with such precision and grit that you feel like you’re right there in it. The shootout in the middle of the film between De Niro’s crew and Pacino’s cops? I mean, my God, that has to be one of the best sequences in any crime flick ever. People dying left and right, innocent civilians in danger, bullets flying everywhere… Damn! I felt like I needed a nap after that scene.

I honestly can’t think of anything I necessarily disliked about the movie, as much as a few nitpicks here and there. Like, some of the scenes tended to drag, and Pacino’s acting could get a little over the top at very rare points throughout, but ultimately, I loved this movie. I can see why it gets all the praise it does.



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