Movie #15 2021: Heat (1995)

I don’t even know how to begin this review. Let’s just say, what a fucking movie.

Heat comes from the mind of Michael Mann, who both wrote and directed it. Starring everyone’s favourite bad guys Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, this is your classic ‘cat and mouse’ tale. De Niro stars as Neil McCauley; a criminal who just so happens to be the mastermind behind several large and complicated robberies, whilst Pacino is the ‘cat’ so to speak: he plays the cop who is constantly on McCauley’s tail. We delve into both of their lives, whilst they slowly realise that they’re not as different as they would like you to believe.

If Christopher Nolan didn’t use this as inspiration for The Dark Knight then you can call me Shirley. That is how you open a 3-hour long movie. (I honestly can’t say any more without spoiling it – just see it for yourself.)

It’s hard to believe that this movie is 25 years old. Every sequence is masterfully shot, lit, and performed – the only thing that wouldn’t hold up if this film came out yesterday is the old ass phones. Heat is a genuinely timeless gangster/cop movie in every other regard.

What will keep you most interested here however are the performances. Al Pacino continues to be the greatest actor who ever lived, and Robert De Niro is simply smooth as fuck. As if I couldn’t love them more already, they hit me with these top notch performances. The supporting cast (Amy BrennemanDanny Trejo etc) do brilliantly too, and every single character forces you to root for them, which is quite the dilemma since one of the leads is technically ‘the bad guy’.

Of course, behind such great characters comes an equally great script: Mann puts together the ultimate cat-and-mouse narrative with this one. It’s tense, thrilling, exciting, funny, smart, and unabashedly cool. On top of that? Those complicated and deeply interesting characters I just mentioned. This is Mann’s finest work if you ask me. Plus, the cinematography is so focused and inventive, which I never even expected. The flawless camerawork is what prevents it from being “just another cop movie” when it comes down to it, and I am extremely thankful for the effort put into it.

Other than its length (170 minutes), I can’t find a fault with this movie. And even then, it’s maybe the easiest 2+ hour film I’ve ever had to get through and I didn’t get distracted once. The subject matter won’t be for everyone, but luckily I’m a slut for anything that even mildly resembles The Sopranos


Heat is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.

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