Heat - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Heat Reviews

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Super Reviewer
July 19, 2007
Zounds! A meeting of the Knights Of The Round Table Of Method Actors (Dustin Hoffman must've been busy)! Only Michael Mann (writer/director) discovered that putting them all in the same room is not enough - they all need something to do. Fortunately he's enough script for DeNiro and Pacino. Nobody else though. Luckily he's got a gunfight planned, so everybody gets a piece of that. And that's probably good enough.
Super Reviewer
October 29, 2006
An obsessive robbery homicide detective is locked in a battle of wits with an ingenious crew of professional criminals looking to score a multi-million dollar bank heist under his very nose. When you see a cast list like this one you know you're in for something special, but Heat is not just special; it's an absolute masterclass. It's a fairly common formula in this day and age, showing cop and criminal as two sides of the same coin, but the way Mann effortlessly flits between both sets of superbly realised characters has never been bettered and paved the way for the modern cop drama including everything from Infernal Affairs to The Dark Knight. The performances are all, of course, top notch and every aspect of the film that surrounds them is faultlessly engineered to create a near perfect heist movie. The bank shoot out that turns the streets of L.A. into a war zone is astonishing in itself and candidate for best action sequence ever filmed. The soundtrack has maybe dated a little in places and some of the domestic drama a little heavy handed compared to the levels of sophistication shown in telling the life stories of these men born of violence, but it is all interwoven into something that exceeds the sum of its parts. A modern classic.
Super Reviewer
June 9, 2006
This is basically Michael Mann's magnum opus.

It's a more fleshed out and richer version of his TV production L.A. Takedown concerning two groups of people and their leaders: one being super slick professional thieves, and the other being highly determined and driven police officers. It takes the standard good versus evil story, ramps it up to the max, and throws in tons and tons of character development, atmosphere, and some of the most well done, realistic, and accurate gun play in motion picture history. This is all very rich, complex, and very compelling. It's a film both for those who like to think, and those who love a solid crime drama.

It also has the great selling point of being the first film to feature De Niro Pacino sharing screentime together. Granted, this selling point is dated, but compared to Righteous Kill (which has them on screen together longer), this one really gets it right and doesn't overdo the joy of seeing them face off.

The cast are firing on all cylinders here, making their characters, good or bad, interesting, sympathetic, and worth watching. Honestly, I'm really torn between which group I'd rather root for more, which I think is a great sign of brilliant work. Nothing is totally black and white, and each side has their pros and cons. Mann has encyclopedic knowledge of crime, criminals, cops, and police procedure, and it shows. There's a high level of attention to detail, and it really makes one appreciate the time and care that went into all this.

But of course, at nearly three hours, and with a fairly leisurely pace, this could prove to be too slow and boring for some. Honestly, I'm really not bothered by it, Sure, my patience sometimes begins to waver during the third act, but I have seen this several times, so maybe it's just a personal issue, and a bit of burn out.

Mann's trademark mood and atmosphere building tools are pitch perfect here, with some of the best and most expressive lighting and camera placement ever seen in a crime drama, or other type of film for that matter. And of course, one of the other main selling points: the superb action scenes. Granted, the movie isn't wall to wall action, but that's not the point. In fact, a lot of the film is made up of lengthy, quiet scenes with tons of yakking, and even more scenes with no talking, just letting the mood wash over the viewer and draw them into this hypnotic world. However, when this film delivers the action goods, it really delivers them, with the gunfights being intense, wild, loud, and jarring...like they're supposed to be.

Just see this film already. There's only so many ways I can think of to call this brilliant before it becomes redundant.
Super Reviewer
December 29, 2010
An intense and very complex character study with Pacino and De Niro delivering two explosive performances as men so alike but on opposite sides of the same battle. Still, the film has too many characters and scenes that make it feel much longer than it should be.
Super Reviewer
May 23, 2013
In what is arguably one of the finest heist movies in history, "Heat" pits two acting heavy-weights in Robert De Niro and Al Pacino against one another. One is a professional thief, so well seasoned that he has avoided the law for as long as he can probably remember. The other is a troubled homicide detective whose third marriage is fizzling out due to his over-riding commitment to his job. Each character ultimately finds he has more in common with his adversary than with his peers. Both are flawed, tired and run-down middle-aged men who, in the immortal words of Roger Murtaugh (see: "Lethal Weapon") are "getting too old for this ...."

"Heat" is hardly your average cops and robbers tale. It's long, it's sweeping and is steeped in character moments and conversations. While much of the hype about the film has always revolved around its finale - the bank robbery - it's the small moments that make the film. Take for instance a scene in the middle of the film where Pacino, too tired and beat down to do anything else, tracks down his suspect (De Niro) and invites him for a cup of coffee where the two talk shop and in spite of mutual respect for one another, both vow not to back down. This moment serves to build the tension that is the big pay-off in the film. You get to know and feel for these very real and very flawed characters, so that when the heat is on, so to speak, you don't know who to cheer for anymore.

Undeniably, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino are the stars of the film and are a large part of its greatness, but it is also Michael Mann's ("Collateral," "Manhunter") unique eye and story-telling sense that defines the film as well. Despite his insuppressible style, the film still retains a gritty, realistic air that is best evidenced in a shootout that takes place in the Los Angeles streets. Without a doubt, this is the director's masterpiece and definitely one of the best of its kind. It's a true epic that is filed to the brim with intense acting (nobody's forgotten about you either, Val) and complicated characters as intricate as the job they are trying to do. For all intents and purposes, "Heat" lives up to its name. 5 stars 5-24-13
Super Reviewer
October 24, 2007
A riveting, extremely entertaining cops and robbers saga concerning a veteran LAPD cop (Al Pacino), on the last days of his marriage, who is tracking an intelligent, cunning robber (Robert De Niro) who heads a sturdy, supremely professional group of criminals. In terms of the "cops and robbers" genre, this undeniably takes the cake and some, with a phenomenal cast (Pacino and De Niro have never been better, and get great help from Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight, etc.) that keeps this long, winding thriller arresting throughout its duration. This has been one of my favorite films for many years, and it is one that I never get tired of watching over and over again. It's dense, sure, and there are certain wrinkles in the story that take multiple views to understand completely. Ultimately, this is a top-notch movie that should by seen just for the fact that you get to see two of the best actors ever in Pacino and De Niro go against one another.
Super Reviewer
August 15, 2006
A masterpiece. An astonishing, outstanding and breathtaking piece of work. A powerful, riveting and exhilarating thrill-ride. An undeniable instant classic in it's own right. Al Pacino and Robert De Niro have never been better, some of their finest work as actors. An engaging crime drama filled with great acting, explosive gun fights, gripping characters and thrilling story which concludes in one awesome standoff. A stylish, crafty, edge of your seat action-packed thriller. It's a total powerhouse with some of the most well crafted and spectacular gun fights ever produced. Director, Michael Mann creates a masterful film of characters, story and style. One of the best films of the 90's. A cool and character driven flick. Great, solid and hard boiled entertainment. A brilliant, compelling and electrifying crime story with clever dialogue and great set pieces. It dazzling, sizzling and unforgettable. It sets fire to screen at a breakneck pace and incredible force.
Super Reviewer
½ November 24, 2012
With such a great cast, this should have been so much better. Mann's direction is on point but it just doesn't work for me.
Super Reviewer
October 4, 2012
Far too long and twisted for my liking. Will need to watch again before I had a definitive review.
Super Reviewer
June 12, 2010
When this was released in 1995, most people believed it to be an original idea. It wasn't. It was actually a more fleshed out and elborate version of Michael Mann's 80's TV movie "L.A. Takedown". He obviously didn't have the budget or the actors, to realise his vision at this time, so with a second chance, Mann grabs it with both hands and both of the best actors in the business.
Professional and precise thief Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro) lives by a strict code and doesn't chances. He has a tight-knit crew that takedown big jobs for big money but he ends up drawing the attention of determined and obsessive robbery/homicide cop Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino). The two of them have more in common than one might think and as their worlds draw closer,they are led to an inevitable confrontation.
At it's core, "Heat" can be viewed as an old fashioned cops-and-robbers tale but it's done with such vastness and great attention to detail that it rises above most, if not all, of the genre. It not only focuses on the the lives of the two main characters - at opposite ends of the moral scale - but it pays attention to the city and environment in which they operate. What almost overshadowed the storyline, was the anticipation of seeing DeNiro and Pacino share the screen for the first time (They were both in "The Godfather part II" but never had any scenes together). Comparisons between their acting styles will obviously be made and without focusing too much on their different approaches, I found DeNiro's more subtle, calculating delivery far more convincing than Pacino's tendency to overact with random, explosive outbursts, bellowing at everyone he meets. There, I said it. However, the film is far more than just these two great actors. It's a multi-layered character study and the supporting roles, particularly Sizemore and Kilmer (in a role originally intended for Keanu Reeves) are given a substantial amount of work and the female parts of Venora, Brenneman and Judd play a massive part in shaping the leads also. We are given a glimpse into their home lives and the struggle they all face in maintaining a 'normal' life - when it goes against their nature. The actors are all given roles to work with, allowing us to identify and care about them. It's because of this, that when the action is delivered, it's edge of your seat stuff. There are three great 'Getaway' scenes from movies that I found particularly powerful; Kathryn Bigelow's "Point Break" had Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze (on foot) running through suburban houses and backyards; The opening of Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive" had Ryan Gosling (in a car) careening and speeding through a darkened urban jungle and this... the major characters (with weapons) shooting it out through a busy congested Los Angeles street. As much as this isn't just about the two leads, it's not just about the action either. It's more about the city itself and it's inhabitants. The refined dialogue allows these inhabitants to come alive and Mann's meticulous, hypnotic direction and ethereal choice of music breathes life into the city as well.
An exciting and methodical piece of work from a highly accomplished cast and director. A near masterpiece of modern cinema.
Super Reviewer
June 25, 2011
One of the best crime thrillers ever made.
Super Reviewer
March 25, 2012
Crime stories do not get any better than this! Neil (Robert De Niro) and his teams of bank robbers, pull off many robberies and jobs throughout the course of this film, but that is not the main focus. The fact that each character has a back story, and somehow, a bond is able to grow through Vincent (the cop played by Al Pacino) and Neil, gives this film every elements it needs to be perfect. In movies like this, I usually try to find problems, or mistakes that writers or filmmakers made throughout the film, but I could not see anything wrong here. The acting is phenomenal, the characters are very well developed, the romances are very hard to see end, and the camerawork captures everything to perfection. The only thing that I would have changed were some of the locations. I mean, the settings were perfectly written, but displayed on camera made it seem a little dull. That being said, it is not enough to take me out of my reasons for absolutely loving this film. "Heat" is an all-around well crafted crime film that I will remember forever!
Super Reviewer
April 5, 2011
I have always loved Michael Mann's detail to firefights in all of his movies; not only is that backing up this entertaining movie but Robert De Niro and Al Pacino carry every scene. Unfortunately, Michael Mann has always struggled to create a convincing character developing story, especially with female roles. The love interests and the relationships are uninteresting and uninspired. Other than that, This is a very entertaining movie.
Super Reviewer
February 8, 2012
The heists and shootout scenes are entertaining, but the story drags itself out for far too long. This film can lull you to sleep as it tries to establish a dark/serious tone (and fails). Also, many story lines go nowhere by the movie's end.
Super Reviewer
October 24, 2011
Without a doubt one of the best movies to come out of Hollywood, and probably the THE seminal cops and robbers stories; the kind which all movies of the genre have been influenced by.
Michael Mann has really outdone himself here. In his magnum opus, 'Heat', he employed an almost deadpan and minimalist cinematography skilfully. Los-Angeles is given it's own character within the movie, with long, sweeping shots of the 'city of lights' interspersed lucidly between scenes of fast-paced action and moments of great depth and gravitas.
His faith is well placed in a cavalcade of incredibly talented acts including Al Pacino as a hard-hitting, obsessive cop and Robert De-Niro as the clinical, disciplined and hardline thief out to tackle the biggest scores. Val Kilmer, Ashley Judd and Tom Sizemore all play vital support roles.
Their ability to express emotion that are aside from what is happening on screen is a testament to Mann's storytelling through minimalist direction. Rather than resorting to flashy screen-grabs or depictions of flashbacks and mental processes, Mann rightfully invests full focus on the actors themselves and the characters they play. We can see what is going through their minds. We believe the struggles they go through in their lives. Their decisions and repercussion they face are real and entertaining.
Definitely a movie one would regret missing.
Super Reviewer
½ July 14, 2009
Well this was it, now 16 years old yet back in 95 this was THE film of the year for action, suspense and the two biggest, serious and some might say best actors of our time to face off, bust each others chops and see just who had the bigger impact, the biggest appeal and the hardest set of kahunas haha.

Much like 'Point Break' the film kicks off fast and doesn't let up till the credits role, its not continuous macho action like 'PB' as there is allot of build up and dialog involving the sting to get De Niro and his gang but when the action does hit its like a freight train in the face.

I haven't seen this since its cinematic release and thought it may have lost some edge...it hasn't, its razor sharp and hardly looks dated in anyway, it could of been made today, you could never tell apart from the actors age of course. So apart from Mr De Niro and Mr Pacino you have a big name cast of stoic solid character actors and Val Kilmer, to be honest everyone is perfect accept Sizemore and Kilmer for me, both of whom just don't fit this kind of epic slick heist film with Kilmer being too weak and not believeable whilst Sizemore fits B-movies or less intelligent action flicks..in my opinion.

The story arch is perfect and smoothly takes you from one plot point to another even having a small sub plot in a way with the character 'Waingro' who slips in and out of the main heist plot perfectly without causing any questions from the viewer. The film never lets you out as you struggle to decide who's side your on as the audience, do you root for De Niro as the criminal/anti hero type who finds love yet must give it up to survive or do you go for Pacino who is simply trying to keep his family life together and bust a dangerous gang of armed robbers? right to the end your never sure who to cheer for, its a personal choice almost like choosing your own ending.

The highlight of the film of course must be the fight fire just over midway on a busy main downtown street, from a quiet, calm yet tense sequence it suddenly erupts into a massive onslaught of loud gun fire from the automatic weapons as the criminals must duck, cover and evade police covering each other step by step. The sequence may be one of the best gun fights ever filmed with heart racing camera movement to cover all the actors and bullet holes that spray the police cars, its fast, loud and relentless plus it looks damn real too. Add to all this a tremendous moving score for the very end as the credits role after the two main men of the film finally lock horns and you have a near if not perfect film from Mann, probably his best. 
Super Reviewer
March 17, 2011
A very well-rounded crime thriller featuring knock-out performances from Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.
Super Reviewer
July 10, 2010
Awesome crime Thriller. Two of cinemas greatest talents collide on screen in Michael Mann's Heat. This is an action packed tense, crime thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. One thing that Michael Mann has going for him in this film is a terrific cast that deliver something special on screen. Heat is no ordinary heist film, it's a sophisticated film with sharp dialogue and sharp characters. It's strong story line only adds to it's sophistication. Heat is one of the best films of it's kind, no other heist film has come close to this action packed roller coaster ride. The scenes with Robert Deniero and Al Pacino electrify each scenes there in. Heat is a stunning crime epic. A jaw dropping masterpiece. This film is a grand film with a simple plot. Michael Mann has donne a terrific job with elevating the traditional cops and robbers heist films. This film is something else. The raid on the bank halfway through the film and ensuing shootout in downtown L.A showcases my point perfectly. The thing that elevates this film to epic stature is its impressive cast of actors who are able to turn a somewhat simple story into something grand. Obviously the most thrilling scenes are the ones with Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro going head to head. The combination of thrills, action, drama and suspense breaks new ground in the crime genre. Both main characters have really good motives, they do what what they do best. This is is a film filled with tension and as the Heat turns up, you stay glued to your tv set to know what will happen next. Heat is one of Michael Mann's greatest achievements as a director and I personally think he's very underrated as a true talent in the Crime genre of films. Heat is a well directed and plotted film that is definitely one of the greatest heist films ever made. This is definitely Michael Mann's finest film. No other Heist film has come close to Heat. This is definitely a classic in the crime genre.
Super Reviewer
August 1, 2009
Heat is not your typical crime thriller. If you've seen Mann's most recent work, the incredible Public Enemies, you'll know that the action, whilst being amazing, plays second fiddle to the atmosphere which Michael Mann endeavours to create and the characters which he makes you understand. So if you're expecting Bay-like explosions or... well... Bay-like character development, script or something within the realm of a Transformers film, best be changing you're thinking now.

Heat follows the story of two men: the cop, Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino in one of his best performances ever) and the thief, Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro in one of HIS best performances). Yes, even though it is historic for bringing these two titans together onscreen for the first time, and a lot of the film is focussed on the characters these two bring to vivid life, Michael Mann, cleverly, keeps these two apart for almost the entire film, bringing them together for the first time in one of cinema's most reknowned scenes; the coffee shop scene. More of that later.

We begin Heat with a cryptic first sequence which is only really understood after the second viewing, which shows De Niro simply walking through a hospital and driving out in an ambulance. Upon the second viewing, Mann's subtly brilliant directing becomes apparent, giving the viewer a real taste of McCauley and how he goes through life, analysing everything; every strange noise and random movement, anything even slightly out of the ordinary. Truly amazing stuff. The rest of the films direction is no less attentive or amazing as Mann creates a bleak yet fascinating, burnished daytime Chicago in which our character's live. It seems as though the scum of the city is just about to burst through but it's kept under a single layer of decency. Mann's precision filming is a fascinating thing to watch, as he captures every moment of the brilliant leads onscreen, drawing the best performance out of the both of them that he can. He lingers lovingly on his actor's faces, framed to perfection and set in a nighttime blue or a daytime darkness, as if you're wearing very light sunglasses while watching the film. Truly brilliant.

The script is beyond any reproach; a perfect level of realism for every character as well as some killer lines. Mann obviously prefers to let his actors extrapolate for themselves what their character might be doing at the time, as most of the time more is understood from a single glance than any line of dialogue the character may utter. That doesn't render it obsolete, however. The film would be average without it. Without the support of this incredible document, De Niro and Pacino would never have made their characters so believeable or layered.

Speaking of those two, they are absolutely amazing. They know their characters inside and out. Nothing about the people they portray is foreign to them, every tick, every movement, every glance, they are completely inhabiting the real-life counterparts at all times. The supporting cast pale comparrison, despite their own strong performances, in particular Amy Brenneman and Val Kilmer who both do extremely well, especially Kilmer who shows that he actually was good, extremely good, he just slipped a little. But these two performers, backed by this brilliant script and coached by this amazing director are the real strength of the film. Not that they carry it on their shoulders, but they take to a stratospheric level.

Great action set pieces abound, just by the way, in particular the shootup in the streets of LA and others such as the first major heist, but Mann's action scenes are of a different breed to todays explosion fests. His action sequences involve the building of tremedous tension, an ever tightening which you fear will never break which is much more riveting than a simple shoot 'em up. Where every move is crucial and real danger is actually felt, these scenes are intensely dramatic as well as being some amazing spectacles.

Heat is a modern American classic crime thriller, the obvious inspiration of films such as The Dark Knight and a must watch for any movie buff, or for someone who just wants to watch an awesome movie.

Defining Scene:
The coffee shop scene. Of course. The close runner-up is the platinum heist.

You wanna be making moves on the street, don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in thirty seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.
Super Reviewer
½ July 7, 2010
really good, long, but good. had a great cast.. just an all around awesome shoot em up-bad ass-heist-boy movie.
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