I’ll be perfectly honest: I did not pay much attention to this movie. It’s also been several weeks since we watched Heat, and I am struggling to remember what it was even about.
The plot summary on Wikipedia is doing very little to jog my memory. There was definitely an armored car heist and people talking in a diner, I remember that much. I vaguely recall Val Kilmer’s character, but have virtually no memory of Natalie Portman or Ashley Judd in this. Were they minor characters? Do they have any influence on the overall plot? I could not tell you. There seems to be a black hole in my brain where my memory of this movie sits.
From what I do remember, Heat failed to grab me within in the first ten minutes. There are very few films which fail this test that I end up liking in the end, and this isn’t one of them. Maybe it’s because I’m just not that into De Niro or Pacino. Maybe I’m getting burned out on crime dramas. Or maybe it’s the fact that all I’ve been able to think about since August is Guardians of the Galaxy, because OMG THAT WAS THE BEST MOVIE EVER!!!!!!
Whatever it is, Heat is only getting an average rating. (I’ve heard it’s really good, so it gets points for that.)
When I think about epic crime thrillers, Heat is the first film that comes into my mind. I know there are plenty of others that were made in the 70s and 80s, like The Godfather series or Scarface, but this was a movie that I saw in theatres growing up, so it is always my go-to crime movie. The cast is superb and the bank robbing scenes are so well done by director Michael Mann.
Robert De Niro plays Neil McCauley, an intense bank robber looking for one last score before he retires to a secluded island in the South Pacific somewhere. Standing in his way is the equally intense police officer, Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino), who is looking to put McCauley away for good. This begins a game of cat and mouse between two pros attempting to outsmart the other. Neil’s crew (Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Danny Trejo) must decide if Neil’s last huge score is worth the risk, especially with the LAPD breathing down their neck. Can they stand the heat, or will they cut their losses and run?
Surprisingly, this is the first time that De Niro and Pacino have shared the screen together. They had each appeared in The Godfather: Part 2, but never actually acted together as their stories were told in separate times. In Heat, they have one scene together. The cop and robber face off in a coffee shop and have a civil conversation as Pacino does not yet have the evidence he needs to arrest him, even though he knows De Niro is planning something big. These few minutes show each actor at their finest. Each one staring down the other as they almost dare each other to make a move first. It is still a tense scene even after I’ve seen it so many times before. It is also a nice reminder of what each of them used to be. De Niro and Pacino have both almost become a caricature of themselves these days, especially Pacino, who now seems to make a living playing senile old men with a penchant for screaming. Heat reminds you that, at one time, these two were kings in their field. Nobody could equal these two actors when they were on, and it is great to be reminded of that.
The supporting cast is also great. I really liked Val Kilmer as De Niro’s right hand man, Chris. His role is small, but important. Kilmer shines in his scenes with Ashley Judd, who plays his wife always threatening to leave and take their son away from him if he doesn’t clean up his act. As good as the supporting cast is, Heat is the De Niro and Pacino show. Both actors are at the top of their game facing off with each other until the climax of the film.
Heat is one of the best crime thrillers I have seen. It is a heavy film with a long running time, but you won’t be disappointed.