lucan’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."
Exhilaration, restlessness and trepidation are tightly and neatly packed into this extremely dense script. So much happens in this 170-minute run time, and almost all of it is swiftly paced, refusing to give the audience time to ponder over what happened moments before. This need to keep up makes this the grittiest experience I've had in a while.
Everything is meteoric, even the dialogue scenes, and I'm not lying when I say this is the shortest 3-hour film I have ever seen.
From the explosive action sequences to the gripping dialogue, Heat's ability to balance the quality of scenes is out of this world. Some of my favourite scenes of the movie were all dialogue, and some were indeed all action.
The frankly brilliant cinematography puts the whole movie on a knife edge, but not as much as the editing does, which often tricks the audience. An abrupt change to frequent and rapid cuts doesn't necessarily mean something vital is about to happen, but it does interfere with our mind and predictability, creating an undeniably unpredictable experience. It manages to avoid genre conventions and instead of swallowing typical crime/moral tropes, it salivates over them and then vicously spits them back out at us!
The performances from Al Pacino and Robert De Niro are unbelievable. These legendary actors are two of the best actors to ever live and they certainly show their talent in this. Robert De Niro's cold, suave presence and Al Pacino's persistently jaw-dropping acting skill work incredibly well opposite each other and that café scene, in particular, was a demonstration of how mindblowing the duo really is. Michael Mann knows that less is more though and builds up their scenes together in a gradual yet sharp way.
The supporting cast is also phenomenal and all seem to have a fervent interest with their three-dimensional characters, all of which are written to sheer immaculation.
Michael Mann has made a hell of a goodie in the hugely influential Heat. An epic score and an often horrifyingly realistic sound design make this an auditory paradise, especially with the gunfire during the many heart-racing action sequences.
It's a stunning example of moral complexity, which questions what makes a person good...or bad, and all I can say is that who I was rooting for continued to alter throughout the movie and even throughout single scenes, and Michael Mann's intention to do this is what makes all the praise for this crime classic worthy.