Heat (1995)

A shorter post than usual, but I have been failing at keeping up month-by-month with this blog.  My apologies.  I should just be safe and say to expect only one a month, or every month and a half.  I promise I have not forgotten you, Dear Readers.

Heat is an American crime/drama film written and directed by Michael Mann, starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, with Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Diane Venora, Wes Studi, William Fitchner, and a young Natalie Portman.  The story follows a group of professional bank robbers and their various jobs around Los Angeles, until they begin to feel “the heat” from the police when they unknowingly leave a clue at their most recent crime scene.  The film is loosely based on true events from a friend of Micheal Mann’s who was a detective that followed a serial killer in Chicago.  (Rated R for violence and language)(Running Time: 170 minutes)

This story is different from most crime movies in a very simple way.  It shows the lives of the individual cops and crooks before and after their work.  We follow their families, their loves, their hates, and what moves them to do what they do.  The story has a unique heart to it, unlike most crime movies, but also told in a slightly new way.  A relaxed style, I like to think of it as.

I suppose director Michael Mann wanted a break after The Last of the Mohicans (1993) when he decided to do this.  It is reported that he had written the script over ten years prior to filming and had no interest to direct.  But after the success of Mohicans, the studio offered him any project he desired, and so he took this action film up, pairing Pacino and De Niro for the first time ever in this epic movie.  When I say this film offers the theme of family surrounded by a world of violence and crime, you immediately think of the Godfather (especially with Al and Robert in the leads), but trust me, this is far from the Corleone family.

I can’t write much about the technical aspects of this movie because–well, when watching it, I was more connected with the characters and the actors than any other portion of the movie (but that could be because I watched it for the first time with the flu, but that is beside the point).  It is a very visual crime story, done very well.  The camerawork is never distracting, the sound of the movie is real, and the soundtrack keeps reminding us of the tempo of the picture.  Nothing more.

The acting was executed well, I will give it that.  Although hardly sharing any screen time together, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro come from a similar pool of acting, I believe.  In the famous diner sequence, you can just see Al playing Al: the unsettled cop, and Robert playing Robert: the crime boss who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.  It just sets it up for a great standoff.  The supporting characters are just as certain or mixed-up as well.

The film was not immediately hailed as a powerhouse drama by critics, but it has grown in receiving favorable reviews over the years.  It also did well at the box office, scoring over $187 million on a $60 million budget.  Not bad for 1995 cinema, especially when we consider the hard-to-market length of the film.  What kept peoples’ butts planted in the theater for three hours?  Characters they could relate to and felt for.

I would end up giving Heat 4 out of 7 stars.  You heard what I liked about it, so you might want to consider going and checking it out.

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About Morgan

January 2016 Update: This blog is under reconstruction. Please be patient while we gradually remove old material, posts, and pages, and create new ones. Thank you.
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