reed’s review published on Letterboxd:
City lights sparkle in the distance. There are too many to count, but you also want to go and explore each building, each house. You dream of no less than doing everything there is to do.
And then there are the people. So many people. Every day there are hundreds of new faces, hundreds of new lives. A minuscule fraction of those lives will enter yours in any significant way. Do you choose them? Do they choose you? Or is it a mixture of choice and fate, something high above that makes the decision for you?
But we do decide what we do with the people in our lives? We decide how much we like a person. Decide if they're annoying or comforting, frightening or funny. We also decide how we want to balance our time with that person with our other daily activities.
Every minute you spend with that person is one less minute spent out in the world. Every minute spent out in the world is one less with that person. It's up to you. Who do you love? What do you love?
So in a way that I've seen few crime movies do, Heat confronts our own feelings, our own loves and interests, and asks, what do you value? It's not just "face value". Not just whether you'd rather eat dinner with your wife or hunt a dangerous criminal. But whether you value a particular lifestyle over the other, and whether one is really worth it to get the other.
Keeping that all in mind, is it possibly to truly balance your life? Sure, for 95% of us probably. We don't have "boring" lives, not necessarily even predictable, yet there is a certain comfort to them. Perhaps the comfort of knowing you will return home safe every day? Of knowing your loved ones will? Of not experiencing long hours away from home or alone at home? There are people that don't have this luxury. And they don't always cope with it well.
Both of our main characters in Heat - McCauley and Hanna - deal with this differently. They are both in that "5% of that population", granted, for very different reasons. McCauley is a criminal mastermind, stocking up on money, but also relatively alone among close friends. He meets a girl and lies to her about his job. Their relationship develops to a point where he has to tell her what's going on. Of course she's shocked. But it's also too late. She's sucked in. Of course, due to the ending, the relationship doesn't go anywhere. Where could it have gone?
Perhaps the route that Hanna's went. A devoted - ruthlessly devoted - LAPD lieutenant, he has clearly been working at his job for years. He doesn't stop for anyone, doesn't show clear emotion for anyone. He say what he does, and does what he says. Of course, when you're that distant emotionally and physically from your loved ones, tensions will arise. And they do.
There is no tough answer. There is no "schedule" you can make. You simply must ask yourself whether you care more about the things you do to help or the people you love. Both are important. Both are enticing and revolting in their own ways at times.
Heat is also about toxic masculinity, about the cycle of violence, about many other 90s themes. But what makes it stick out to me is the sad and true choice it offers us. Life is unfair. I suppose I'll leave it at that.