Heat is a rare action/drama movie from 1995 that featured Robert De Niro and Al Pacino sharing the screen for the first time in their extraordinary careers.
Directed by Michael Mann, Heat follows the story of Neil McCauley (De Niro), a criminal that takes down major scores in the city of Los Angeles. Hot on his trail is super cop Vincent Hanna (Pacino) who lives, eats, and breathes crime-fighting so much that he doesn’t have much of a personal life.
Neil becomes Vincent’s obsession until their two crews engage in a firefight on the city streets, which results in numerous lives lost.
Jammed packed with awesome gun battles and tense sequences, Heat’s most prominent selling feature is its lead actors De Niro and Pacino. The two steal the show with an epic game of cat and mouse that involves a face to face coffee meeting. These two calm and collected characters exchange their personal goals and objectives, all the while stating nothing is going to stand in their way of taking the other down.
My favourite part of the movie is the bank robbery and the ensuing gunfight on the streets. Everyone in the scene, including Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer), Michael Cheritto (Tom Sizemore), and Detective Bosko (Ted Levine), is armed with automatic weapons that pump out rounds like they were in the middle of a war zone. The whole 20+ minute sequence is loud and bloody, which it makes worth sitting through the first hour and a half build-up. The entire concept of good guys catching the bad guys is taken a new level here with this epic fight that has to be one of the best bank robberies/getaways in film history.
If someone asked me to pick a favourite character out of this stellar cast, I would go with Pacino’s Vincent character. He is always furious, dramatic, desperate, and smart. His attitude and loud outbursts can get people’s blood boiling while he tries to pry away valuable information. Vincent is the complete opposite of De Niro’s Neil character that plays things very close to the chest. He’s smarter, sly, and serious-minded, which makes him a great bad guy. Pacino usually represents a great cop/detective, and I would think Heat is his best performance in that role. I understand some people out there love him in Serpico, but this time he is matched up against one of Hollywood’s finest actors that allows him to bring out the best in his detective character.
Heat may run a little long at 2:50 for some of you, but when you take the time to sit down and appreciate everything that went into this movie, you can respect it for what it is. I would consider it one of the best cop dramas of all-time while serving as a reminder that one “shouldn’t get too attached to anything in life that you wouldn’t be willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat in you feel the heat around the corner.” 9/10