Heat ★★★★★

A movie I was interested in seeing for some time, with it's bank heist theme and Los Angeles setting, as well as the on-screen presence of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. I will say for the record that Heat was definitely worth the watch. It's a most- compelling crime-epic that intrigues from start to finish with it's action, dialogue, characters, atmosphere and more.

Heat has a unique narrative that switches between different characters throughout. Robert De Niro plays Neil McCauley, a professional career criminal who leads a team of highly-experienced robbers. McCauley's crew consists of Chris Shiherlis (played by Val Kilmer), Trejo, Michael and Waingro, whose incompetence of killing a security guard angers McCauley and makes him the target of a murder attempt, for which he attempts revenge later on. He meanwhile develops a love interest for Eady, who is unaware of his life of crime.

Then there is Vincent Hanna played by Al Pacino, an LAPD Lieutenant (part of a Robbery/Homicide division) who is given the task of investigating the most recent heist by McCauley's crew and bringing those responsible to justice. Hanna has already got personal problems on his own hands unfortunately. He currently takes care of his depressed stepdaughter and suspects his wife of cheating on him. Nethertheless, he is still determined to crack down on McCauley's gang of thieves whatever the cost.

It's the usual greatness from Pacino and De Niro that makes these characters as human and believable as they are. Seeing them meet up with each other face to face for the first time is a pretty iconic moment. While one is a police detective and the other is a professional robber, it's quite fascinating how they both discuss their problems and careers with each other civilly, despite the two being on completely different sides of the law

Length-wise, it's stretched out to an almost 3 hour-long run-time with a heavy focus of dialogue and character building. Despite not strictly being an action film, it has it's fair amount of sequences. The most notable one includes an unforgettable scene where McCauley and his crew face-off against various LAPD officers after a bank robbery as rounds fire off in every direction. It's as intense and as well-crafted as any action sequence from the time can get in my view.

In true Mann fashion, he captures the atmosphere of Los Angeles brilliantly. During day, it's a sunny and bustling metropolis, but at night, it's much more dark and neon-lit. Soundtrack is brilliant as well, from a well-done Elliot Goldenthal score and a host of orchestral, rock-based and deep synth cues by various artists, all of which capture the atmosphere of the film perfectly (based on the location in which particular scenes are taking place).

All in all, I'd say this is one of the best crime films of the 90s without a doubt. Mann has crafted a film complete with excitement, drama and intensity. Pretty much everything I wanted from a crime film I found to be intact in Heat, some memorable characters and dialogue, a top-notch atmosphere, a brilliant soundtrack, and a very good execution in general. A must-see.


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