Heat (1995) – Micheal Mann

I continue my time with Ten Bad Dates With De Niro, as I explore a list of Ten Scenes Where Shouty Al Shows Up, and yes, Pacino does yell a lot in this movie, but it is also a masterful epic that, for the first time, saw Al Pacino and Robert De Niro sharing scenes together.

And despite it’s almost three hour runtime, I love settling in for this one. And here’s the things about Micheal Mann films, he’s got a fantastic catalogue, so each time I settle in for one, I think THIS is my favourite Mann film, and then I’ll watch another one, and that one becomes my favourite.

He’s an exceptional director that knows how to craft a story, take his time with the characters, and gets the most from his production. Heat is a prime example. Absolutely nothing on the film was shot on a sound stage, it’s all location work, be it interiors or exteriors.

The film follows cop, Vincent Hanna (Pacino) as he tracks down Neil McCauley (De Niro) and his crew as they first knock over an armoured truck, and there next target is a bank. Neil’s crew is smart, professional, and is ready to rock and roll at a drop of a hat.

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In a film with an incredible supporting cast, Val Kilmer, Wes Studi, Tom Sizemore, Ashley Judd, Amy Brennerman, Mykelti Williamson, Jon Voigt, Hank Azaria, Danny Trejo, Ted Levine, Natalie Portman, Dennis Haysbert and William Fichtner, it’s hard to pick out favourite scenes or standout moments.

Sure, there’s the running gun battle following the bank robbery, the diner scene, the airfield climax, Hanna’s discovery of his adopted daughter’s suicide attempt, Neil walking away from Eady (Brennerman)… and taken as a whole, the film remains nothing short of jaw-dropping.

There’s not a wasted moment in the entire film, each scene, each moment, is propelling the story forward at the speed of a bullet, and you just strap in and hold on. And watching the sheer star power and acting talent on display in this film is worth the price of admission.

This remains a high point not just for 90s cinema, but for the realm of film. Everything clicks, everything works, and that ending is just wow.

I loved being able to revisit this title, and it put me in mind of when I was working in a video store, and this title came out, on VHS. This was a title that flew off the shelves, and not a single person complained that it was two tapes long – though I remember a number of people complained about the widescreen edition versions we carried.

It had a massive appeal, and that made me happy, because most viewers that I knew at the time did not have the patience for a film of that length, but I love a long film, as long as it entertains, and Heat remains near the top of that list.

I can’t wait to see what else is coming in Ten Bad Dates With De Niro.

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