Heat (1995)

by sfe medusa


(dir. Michael Mann)

How it has taken me so long to see this gem of a crime drama I will never know. First off, Robert de Niro versus Al Pacino. I know, I know, textbook fan behaviour. I don’t even care; there’s a reason they were both director Michael Mann’s first choices for their respective roles. I could watch an entire film featuring the duo sitting opposite each other throwing jibes. Or not even speaking. Just exchanging their trademark stares.

Legendary actors aside, the entire cast hold the film together exceptionally well; characters are so confirmed that the plot is almost predictable (I’ve been searching for a fault in this film for hours now), but more likely just plain inevitable.

Aesthetically brilliant, especially the fluctuating blurriness in some scenes that brings to mind that feeling of blood rushing to your eyes when your emotions are heightened and when adrenaline is pumping. De-saturated, muted pastel-coloured tones reflect the characters’ simultaneous suppressed panic and sharply focussed thinking. Dialogue is either lyrical or razor sharp, often both.

Not only is Heat a perfectly executed crime film laden with plausible jargon and subtly comic moments, it is moving and thoughtful (i.e. immediately gets my approval). Seemingly telling a tale of the soulless, hollow exploits of uncaring characters, I think there’s a lot more to Heat than just a cleverly constructed cops-and-robbers doo-dah. In exploring the staunch human character, the destructive consequences of poor relationships and the unyielding force of male dedication to their own interests, this film generates pure emotion from cold detachedness: a feat certainly worth admiring.