Mary Conti’s review published on Letterboxd:
Part of the December Project: Film #49
To call Michael Mann's Heat just an action film is to discredit everything it does in between those grand scenes of chaotic shootouts. Heat is about men whose jobs end up interfering with their personal lives, and how it all is a constant ruin until it finally ends.
Notably, Heat is also an epic game of chess in the form of a crime thriller. There are the Kings, Vincent Hanna (Pacino) and Neil MacCaulay. They each have their queens in the form of their love interests, and their knights, bishops, and pawns.
Neil makes the first move before Hanna ever realizes he's started playing the game. But Hanna has never let himself lose a game of chess, even at a personal cost. So he's dying to win this game.
While the most memorable moments of Heat are the heists and shootouts, the best moments are actually the quiet character moments, where we get to see how these characters live, and just how similar they really are.
The only thing that threatens to dismantle Heat is its length. While it is ultimately necessary for this film to communicate its epic crime thriller game of chess through its long running time, it ultimately makes the film feel slightly bloated, but it's never really boring, so I can give it that.
Side note: Anyone not watching this with surround sound is doing themselves a disservice.