Heat ★★★★★

At once a macho melodrama of the highest order, one of the most blatantly obvious Great Works of filmmaking ever, and also probably the clearest distillation of Mann's fixations as an artist.

You've got 1) the intense destructive psychology of obsessive professionals/criminals and the subsequent personal and emotional fallout. 2) The individual's attempt to maintain old codes of honor in the ugly systematic realities of the modern organized world (i.e. banks, prisons, etc), 3) Having the first two reflected in characters visually overwhelmed by the vacant alienating landscapes/modernist architecture of steel and concrete and light. (Literally no other filmmaker would include that mountain of yellow salt in the background of that one shot.) 4) The focus in its set pieces on technical process and gruesome, tactical violence with engineer-like precision... And, most importantly, 5) The moody masculine loner poetry of its writing, style, and electric soundscape filled to the brim with genuinely romantic yearning and painterly abstracted impressionism. The close-up heat-vision match cut on Pacino/DeNiro and the over-exposed light tunnel never fail to get a gasp out of me) that ties them all together. 

It's a work of pure magic in that it somehow feels near mythic in scope and dreamily intimate, and never less than brutal in its realism. All while never losing sight of its central dynamic. It's the legendary and historically deadly relationship between cop and robber, hunter and prey observed in a sensitively drawn portrait of two men: the way they instinctually move/operate in their specific worlds, their spiritual and emotional gravitational pull towards one another (intrinsically entwined with the physical collateral damage left in the wake of their collision), and finally, the tears-in-your-eyes catharsis of their open admission of understanding to one another that not only can they not change they don't even truly want to, and are both completely willing to accept the tragic fatalism that comes with that decision with open arms for one another like they’re the last two men in existence.

Full discussion on episode 12 of my podcast SLEAZOIDS.

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