Andrew Boley’s review published on Letterboxd:
Mixing avant garde music with amazingly crisp, cool images and intense action sequences, Heat transcends the genre that it happens to reside in. It mainly does this by way of having such a constant connection to reality. It's a great example for a lot of things. Mainly, that to have great cinematography doesn't mean you have to have crazy set ups and have beautiful images. It just means you have to create a world in which the audience and characters can inhabit equally. Another thing it does well is use actors for what they should normally always do. Be real. Val Kilmer, DeNiro, Pacino, Voight. All legendary actors. No one will really even think to mention these roles in the breathe as their other works. But that's because they're not meant to be. They're not trying to blow your minds, or really alert you to any sort of "performance." They are just living as these characters. I mean towards the end of the movie I kind of forgot that that was DeNiro and Kilmer tearing through a parking lot.
The most memorable thing about the movie though is the action sequences. Mainly the first one with the armored vehicle and the huge bank heist and subsequent chase. The sound is perfect. For some reason other action movies haven't caught onto what Mann was doing. I don't get it because this is one of a handful of action movies where I really felt like I was watching something real. The way they carry the guns, to the way you feel the real timeliness of it.
The thematic depth to it is what separates this movie from the genre that it happens to be in. The duality between cop and criminal is nothing new. But the fact that it's really not very interested in that is what makes it interesting. It's more about just being with these two seperate groups of people and coming to find out what makes them tick. I don't think DeNiro's character and Pacino have any major similarities. I think they just happen to respect eachother. Like Jordan and Bird. But it's really about what their mindsets and actions have to do with their consequences. It doesn't hit you over the head with it the way a lot of movies that try this sort of thing do. You just have these two personalities at conflict with each other and we get to see how each of their personal lives intersects with their professional life.
It's definitely a movie of the times, in a good way. It's a quintessential 90s film. There are definitely some cheesy moments. Some of what Pacino is doing is slightly outrageous. But the overall effect is definitely a good time, and a surprisingly deep one. It's a world I can get lost in and has characters that I care about. You add some great action and a great score and I call that a great movie.