Continuing on the theme of watching movies I should’ve seen years ago comes this week’s offering: Heat (1996). Billed as the first meeting of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, this movie is typical Michael Mann. I don’t know if it’s his shot composition or his use of colors/soundtrack, but all of Mann’s films evoke the same general feeling.
De Niro is a master criminal whose crew operates like a finely tuned machine. After a brilliant armored car robbery to open the film, Pacino’s LAPD detective starts to track down De Niro and stop him before the next heist. The rest of the movie splits time between the two hard-edged men who are tenacious in going after their goals.
Many people complain that De Niro and Pacino share almost no screen time (save the diner scene and the denouement). While it would’ve been cool to see them together more, the separation made their eventual meeting(s) all the more impactful.
I’m not ga-ga over this movie like a lot of people are, but it was an enjoyable time. The opening armored car robbery and the bank heist are two awesome set pieces. Well worth the price of admission.
I also liked the familiar faces popping up. De Niro’s crew was Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, and Danny Trejo. Their opening score was taken from William Fichtner and fenced through John Voight. Pacino’s cops were Ted Levine and Mykelti Williamson (of the late, lamented Boomtown). Not to mention supporting roles played by Amy Brenneman, Ashley Judd, Natalie Portman, Dennis Haysbert, and cameos from Hank Azaria, Tone Loc, and Xander Berkeley.
The movie’s not for everyone, but if you’re a fan of Mann, definitely check it out.