Friday, July 2, 2010

Pose Reviews a Movie. #20: Heat (1995)


There was a time before Miami Vice when Michael Mann actually made good movies.

Heat is undoubtedly one of them.

Not only is it chock-full of badassery, supplied simultaneously by Al Pacino as "the cop" and Robert De Niro as "the robber," it's also far more complex than a simple game of cops and robbers.

What I liked most about the film is that it presents both sides of the law as equally flawed and sympathetic. You get to see the story unfold both through the eyes of both the LAPD and the career criminals they're chasing, and you spend most of the film unsure of who to root for.

The fact is, both sides in Heat are very, very good at what they do. Robert De Niro and Val Kilmer play extremely skilled plunderers, whose Robin-Hood-esque morals lead them to target fortunes that are either federally insured or possessed by the very rich, while Pacino investigates their crimes with intelligent wit and vigor, and is always hot on the heels of the heisters.

You really get the sense that you're watching the best of the best, on both sides, and it's really exciting to watch the clever antics of the police and theives alike (Clash reference, anyone?) keeping the almost three-hour movie from getting tedious.

The film is also greatly supported by a phenomenal cast. I've already mentioned Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Val Kilmer, but you also get Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore (AKA Tom Arnold's talented equivalent), Ashley Judd, Danny Trejo, Henry Rollins, Hank Azaria, Dennis Haysbert and a young Natalie Portman.

It's kind of like watching the Oscars if they were interesting and only attended by cool people.

And it's also worth mentioning that Mann's script is pretty damn awesome. He doesn't necessarily pull any fantastic tricks behind the camera for this one, but with the screenplay he has prepared for it, it hardly matters.

Overall, Heat is a very human crime drama--not only does it present the perspective of criminal and law enforcer alike, but it also looks at how these roles affect the people behind them.

Heat
isn't out to paint good guys and bad guys--it just tells a story. And it tells it very well.

1 comment:

madkevin said...

Al Pacino's overacting in this movie is both the best and most terrible thing ever. It makes every other performance of his look like a model of restraint.

My fave is when Hank Azaria breaks down and admits to having an affair with Ashley Judd (I think - it's been a while) and Azaria's like "Oh, what was I thinking, having sex with a criminal's wife?" and Pacino screams at him "You were thinking she has a HUUUUUUGE ASS, you you had your HEAD ALL THE WAY UP IT!!!!"