CraigLumley’s review published on Letterboxd:
Scavenge Hunt Hunt 53: Film 17/31 - Watch a movie starring Robert De Niro
If I were to make a shortlist of best film of the 1990s HEAT would definitely be on it.
I appreciate the argument that this would have been better as a mini-series, but I do not agree with it. Natalie Portman’s arc is seen as perhaps the most egregious underdevelopment. But to me she is the emotional heart. “Why did she do this to herself!” her mother cries. She did this to herself yes, but she did not act alone. We are all ultimately responsible for our actions, but only in how they affect others. It is a serious burden that we all carry.
And why did she choose HIS room? And why does he run away with such glee.
I don’t think the side characters needed any more development as they are there for what they tell us about Pacino and Deniro, and how their decisions affect others. This is about lives interconnected, how they mirror each other despite how different they appear. But the ideas are given more potency in how all these lives are connected to the pathology and conflict between two men. As Pacino’s wife says the other characters are “leftovers.” They haunt the film, they have been cast aside, they are forgotten.
Why do these two men seem so willing to attach to emotions and experiences but unwilling to attach to people?
A film about confronting that cosmic aloneness we all feel. About the delicate balance of living free of attachments without living a life of indifference. How do you connect with others without attaching? Sometimes the emptiness becomes so unbearable that it ceases to matter how much pain we inflict on ourselves, what carnage we leave behind, or who we hurt - as long as we feel something.
Perhaps ultimately the best way to deal with the aloneness is to share it.