Sunday, March 1, 2015


Movie Name: Heat
Year of Release: 1995
Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Diane Venora, Tom Sizemore, Amy Brenneman, Ashley Judd, Mykelti Williamson, Wes Studi, Ted Levine, Dennis Haysbert, William Fichtner, Natalie Portman, Tom Noonan, Hank Azaria, Jeremy Piven
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

Celebrated director Michael Mann followed his successful and critically acclaimed "The Last of the Mohicans" with "Heat", one of his original screenplays, that became one of the most well received films from 1995. The film follows the story of two men - Neil McCauley a professional robber, who has a group of individuals he teams up for one final big coup, and Vincent Hanna, the policeman who alongside his team is trailing Neil. In the periphery of these group of men, are the women who give them the emotional stability they need and long for, each of them having different types of relationships with their loved ones. Neil knows his time to retire is coming, and he sees this final opportunity as a way to depart the criminal life, and move on with a woman he loves and has just met. Vincent on the other hand, sees his marriage flailing, and focuses most of his energy in apprehending these criminals on the loose. These opposing forces finally come to a halt.
Michael Mann has been a director known for his meticulous preparation for whatever project he tackles on. Following his directorial efforts from the 80s (such as "Thief" and "Manhunter"), the 90s saw him ascend to a level of critical acclaim and popularity he had not experienced before. "Heat" was a good commercial success since it was also advertised as the meet up of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, who hadn't reunited since Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather Part 2" (and even then, they did not share screen time). The film is an exploration of the lives of these two seemingly different men, both bound to a sense of moral certitude that sets them apart from their colleagues in their fields. The film builds all these different relationships between all these characters, giving the story a complex emotional backdrop, against which these action set pieces occur. The film falters in the depiction of the female characters that it presents, but the goal for this is clearly to follow the lives of these men in their final battle (very much like a modern western duel). The film benefits from the beautiful cinematography from Dante Spinotti, who lights the city of Los Angeles beautifully, and the arresting score from Elliot Goldenthal. This is a fantastic film from a great director always worth revisiting.