Screenplay : Michael Mann
MPAA Rating : R
Year of Release : 1995
Stars : Al Pacino (Vincent Hanna), Robert De Niro (Neil McCauley), Val Kilmer (Chris Shiherlis), Jon Voight (Nate), Tom Sizemore (Michael Cheritto), Ashley Judd (Charlene Shiherlis)
"Heat" marks the first time the two heavyweights of tough acting, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro have shared the screen. They both starred in 1974's "The Godfather Part II," but they were never in a scene together. Those expecting to see them together a lot in "Heat" will be disappointed because it only happens twice, once in the middle and once at the end. However, their first scene together is so good, it alone is worth the price of admission. The scene is so subtle and complex at the same time that it ranks among some of the best encounter scenes between enemies in recent years.
The film has several other outstanding qualities including strong support from Val Kilmer, Oscar-worthy cinematography, and assured direction by writer-director Michael Mann, who scored a big hit in 1992 with "The Last of the Mohicans." Mann first made a name for himself in the 1980s with the highly stylized TV show "Miami Vice." With "Heat" he proves what "Mohicans" only hinted at: that he is a solid filmmaker who is capable of much more than what he did on television.
"Heat" could have easily fallen into cop-robber cliches, but Mann lifts it to a higher level with intense character development and interrelated plot lines. The only thing the film suffers from is a fairly routine ending and a surprisingly long running time of over three hours. It would have benefited greatly if they had hit the edit button a couple of times and left out some extraneous subplots.
Reprinted with permission The Baylor Lariat