The greatest films of all time as voted on by the Criterion subreddit using a ranked top 10 methodology from…
A Los Angeles crime saga
Obsessive master thief Neil McCauley leads a top-notch crew on various daring heists throughout Los Angeles while determined detective Vincent Hanna pursues him without rest. Each man recognizes and respects the ability and the dedication of the other even though they are aware their cat-and-mouse game may end in violence.
"Three hours was the wrong running time for this movie," began my negative "review" 18 years ago, just a few months after I launched my site. "It should have run either 90 minutes, or seven hours." That I somehow failed to appreciate the rampant awesomeness on display here boggles the mind; for all his idiocy, though, younger me did have a point, if not yet an available countermodel. Today, Heat looks like a hugely condensed season of first-rate television, with the sprawling narrative and multi-character arcs we now associate with that medium. (See also: Contagion.) Bump it up to 10 or 12 hours on HBO and the material that currently feels thin—Kilmer and Judd's rocky marriage, Portman's depression, Fichtner's…
This remains the quintessential Michael Mann film, an epic summation of his preoccupations and interests. It is a cataclysmic stand-off between worthy adversaries, the driven cop and the master thief, and a riveting portrait of men operating at a rarefied level of proficiency. The unflagging pursuit of career criminal Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro) and his hard-boiled crew by LAPD detective Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) as they plot to take down one last score provided the basis for the crime saga of the nineties, a super-charged set-up as potent as it was elemental. The relative simplicity of the plot allows Mann to explore the psyche of these men that seem to simultaneously thrive within and stand apart from the maelstrom their…
”What am I doing? I'm talking to an empty telephone…Cause there is a dead man on the other end of this fuckin' line.”
I heard that quote when I watched Cashback the other night. “I love that fookin film! You should see it on my plasma! Boom boom ratta tatta blam blam!” a character exclaimed. And this gave me the craziest idea… I went out and picked up Heat on Blu-Ray today and decided to watch it for the first time since owning a Blu-Ray player. I had previously only seen it on VHS and DVD…
I poured myself a drink, opened up the window to feel the nice spring air, cranked up my tv, and let the sounds of…
Heat opens with De Niro's McCauley descending from above wearing an EMT uniform, one of many costumes/false identities he'll don throughout the course of the movie as he quietly blends in with the masses of baseball and barbecue loving "normals.*" At other times he's framed at high vantage points, hovering over the city and recalling in my mind the famous poster art for Feuillade's FANTOMAS. This is the great American crime movie of my lifetime. The roles of cop and robber are expanded to mythic proportions, the movements are operatic (hovering at times somewhere between soap opera and pulp fiction), the action scenes are grounded and thrilling... I think it's pretty much perfect.
As in classic mythology, when gods clash…
got to see this on a stunning 35mm print at TIFF with michael mann present. 20 years later and it's just as alive and mesmerizing as ever.
apparently it was the first time mann had actually sat through the film in many years but he expressed his undying affection for the ending/final shot, which he described as the most human moment taking place in a space "not built for humans." dude is a fucking cinematic poet.
Film #57 of Project 90
”Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.”
Michael Mann is at his most exciting form here, with Heat he once again tells the story of lonely men who can’t live a regular life, men who are doomed to live a painful life where it is impossible to achieve peace and delight, his heroes aren’t made to enjoy life, they should fight for their salvation till the end and that salvation often costs them dearly. What makes Heat so unique is that here we have two men who are supposed to fight each other and beat…
This film must have been such a filthy gigantic meme in 1995 with de Niro and Pacino head to head.
Great, albeit perhaps a subplot or two could have been cut to prevent how distended it is with characters who are utterly pointless.
Best watch yet, and I'm gradually coming to see what most people apparently always have - that this is quite a special film.
From one point of view, I can see something in the idea that there are strands of Heat that are underdeveloped and that this is to its detriment. However, they are all woven in together so incredibly well, that those individual elements - many of which may get little screen time, but all of which feel entirely real and part of the same world - combine to produce a cumulative effect that lends the film the incredible head of steam it builds and builds and builds up as it heads for its shattering climax.
Yes, if you…
It's not surprising that this was better on a rewatch, but that one of the reasons for that is that anything I didn't like about it before just seems so minor now.
I forgot about the subplot about the paroled guy working for the corrupt boss; it's short and in the periphery, but there are a lot of things I like about that.
The film is laboriously designed to sketch similarities between the two central characters as macho loners whose dedication to their work and lack of a sense of responsibility to others have led to weak romantic relationships. I wish time could be kinder to De Niro or especially Pacino's performances, the gimmickry of the pair-up having worn off over the years to leave their phoned-in mugging to justify scenes that sink in their own hokum. The keenness of the character details is arguably more apparent in the film's minor characters, amplified with a multitude of low-key performances. The mid-section firefight in the streets is still and always will be a harrowing masterpiece of choreography, sound and pace, and steals the movie from all else.
Unbelievable 35mm print @ BAM
The essential Michael Mann text, a sprawling epic painted with neon city lights, full of mini-tragedies about men torn between duty and emotional attachment. More than any other Mann film, Heat relies on cumulative power, setting up various narrative strands in its first two hours, then bringing them to their inevitable, tragic ends in the final hour. It all builds to one of the great finales, a tense game of cat-and-mouse played as a silent, near-spiritual moment of two men in their place, doing what they do best: hunting and being hunted. Appropriately for Mann, it's the play of light and shadow that does Neil in, and what's more cinematic than that.
I HAD COFFEE WITH MCCAULEY HALF AN HOUR AGO!
It's a shame that so few action films are willing to take formal design this seriously.
Michael Mann has created an entire career filled with justifications for elevating the increasingly vapid action genre to high art. Heat, which may be the purest shot of Mann adrenaline, doesn't necessarily present much that hasn't been repeated in police procedurals since the beginning of narrative filmmaking; it just does it as well or better.
Every cliche is here: the one-last-heist, cops vs robbers, struggle to balance home and work, blah, blah, blah... Yet in the fashion of great genre filmmaking, familiarities turn into the greatest type of revelations. By subverting or augmenting our established expectations, Mann provides a pleasure that's built upon years…
Recently I was contemplating making a list of my favorite scenes in film, but I decided that instead of just…
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