Heat - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Heat Reviews

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May 20, 2017
Definitely the best heist movie ever made and brilliant acting and storytelling.
April 29, 2017
I love every second of this exhilarating masterpiece.
½ April 3, 2017
La collisione di due personaggi analizzati e scritti alla perfezione dą alla luce una storia ricca di emozione che riesce costantemente a stupire lungo tutte le quasi 3 ore di film. La trama č raccontata in modo esemplare, senza sbavature procede liscia come l'olio coinvolgendo senza intoppi. Tecnicamente il film non presenta alcun problema: le sequenze d'azione sono girate e montate alla perfezione e riescono a conferire una sensazione terrena per tutti i personaggi in scena. Heat č un grandissimo film, che mette in gioco il talento sconfinato di due attori leggendari e che merita di essere ricordato come uno dei migliori film d'azione mai creati.
March 28, 2017
An incredible crime film exploring the grey area between good and evil and the connection between both sides, proving to be Michael Manns masterpiece.
March 15, 2017
Enough just can't be said about this movie. Heat is nothing short of a masterpiece. It's a nearly three hour crime epic that simultaneously leaves you wanting more and makes you feel completely satisfied. There is really nothing about this film that isn't perfection. The story unfolds beautifully, never dragging. The characters all feel fleshed out, and the actions of every character effect the stories of every other character. On top of this the performances are all as great as you'd expect from a cast like this one. The dialogue is cool, fast, and entertaining without falling into the trap of needing constant one-liners or jokes to keep the audience engaged. It'd be a sin not to mention the score which features everything from rock, to electronic, to classical, to choir. All of it beautiful and minimalistic. As far as the technical aspects go, well, it's a Michael Mann crime thriller. Every scene is shot and lit to perfection. Mann's style is so distinct because of how his films manage to be incredibly stylized and realistic at the same time. No eccentric camera movements, no cool editing tricks, and no cute transitions. Just perfectly executed storytelling. Heat is an absolutely timeless film.
March 13, 2017
Incredible directed and sound design and cinematography are brilliant too. The action and its set pieces are all brilliant too. The Acting is almost flawless and is accompanied by writing that is smart and engaging. One of the greatest films of all time
March 8, 2017
Pacino, De Niro, and Mann....What more is there to say....Dazzling!
March 7, 2017
My favorite film ever. Ever.
½ March 6, 2017
we have another top 10er!!! I have seen this movie now 4 times roughly. First viewing I was in my mid, early teens and it was a little long for me. Which it still is however at my age now I can appericate it more than ever. It is damn close to being a perfect movie. While it is slow its deliberate and brings some of the best acting of all time and really brings you into the incredible chest match that lasts the nearly 3 hour film. If this movie was about 15 minutes shorter I would give it a perfect 5.
February 21, 2017
Grade - B
Its plot can sometimes be a bit contrived and its pacing may suffer due to an overlong running time, but 'Heat' manages to overcome its problems thanks to excellent direction, good dialogue and brilliant performances from all involved.
February 8, 2017
Basically just a vehicle to pit Deniro against Pacino, but what a damn fine movie they churned out. The way Mann takes his time, let the story breathe and developed these characters and their relationships is what gives it such an air of authenticity and keeps the movie as tense as it is, even with its long runtime.
February 2, 2017
The nearly 3 hour version just drags on.
January 27, 2017
This is an intense action movie. Michael Mann's best film. De Niro and Pacino face off in this epic heist film. This is one of the best action movies of the 90's if not all time. The acting from everybody in this film is top notch and it adds to the thrill of this film. A great character study of both De Niro's and Pacino's characters. A must see film.
January 22, 2017
The ensemble heist thriller to end all ensemble heist thrillers, Michael Mann's Heat didn't simply rely on the novelty of being the first movie to bring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino together for a few scenes. Quite the opposite, really. Mann juggles his incredible cast as deftly as he manages the many moving parts in a storyline pitting a dogged cop who's sacrificed his family for his career (Pacino) against a notorious career criminal (De Niro). It is perhaps unfashionable to mention such prosaic qualities as character development in a guns-a-blazing action movie, but Michael Mann's study into the tired personal lives of Pacino and De Niro draws an engrossing parallel and contrast between them. Sure this occasionally puts the action on hold, but when it picks back up, somehow your connection enhances the heart-stopping effect when 12 gauges start firing. But still, among Heat's achievements; containing the best shoot-out in the history of cinema and getting the coolest people of the 90's together in the same movie, the real showstopper is simply the two major screen actors, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, facing off over a coffee.
½ January 22, 2017
Epic. Never get tired of this one
December 15, 2016
Best action movie made, hands down. 27 years old and I can watch this over and over and over again. Cast is outstanding, performances memorable, and the overhead cinematography is amazing. If I could watch one movie for the rest of my life, this would be it.
December 8, 2016
Oh my goodness! One of the best action movies of all time! Five stars hands down! The best movie performance by DeNiro & Pacino together, the dialogue at the Diner, priceless! Waynegrow, the most ruthless, back stabbing, villainous snake in the grass in history! All you want to do is see him get busted! Great watch, go see it!
½ December 4, 2016
This film is a must watch for fans of acting, for fans of suspense, for fans of engrossing dramas/crime thrillers, for fans of amazing screenplays and for movie fans in general. Al Pacino is amazing in this movie as Robert De Niro. Val Kilmer also gives a good performance. The direction in this movie is masterful as is the cinematography. There is an ambiance/atmosphere/feel to the movie that just sucks you right in. It is grounded with full characters unpredictable and for those expecting a heavily-packed action movie are going to be dissapointed. This movie isn't one to sit back an eat popcorn. This sucks you right and takes up your full attention, with the talking scenes just as suspensful and intriguing as the action. It is almost as if the direction is aimed for action allthroughout. One thing that I adored that this movie does is it is symmetrical almost. There is literal symmetry in alot of shots and in the plot itself. This is to represent how similar the two characters really are, they appear to be opposite ends of the spectrum but in reality are just a fine line away between each other. The supporting cast is great which I also like as it is easy to just focus on these two characters but there are other arcs, making the characters and the stakes even more real. My FAVOURITE part of this movie is how it never presents a character to you and makes you like him and root for him. It is as I said, a symmetrical film. In the suspensful moments I was on the edge holding my breath, as I love both the "good" guys and the "bad" guys but in reality in the film there are no good or bad guys, just two sides you both love. Drawing all these points together heat is a masterful, dialogue driven movie with amazing action set peices when it comes to them, great cinematography, well rounded characters and a must watch. The only flaw I have is that it took a bit of time for me to really get 100% interested but apart from that the run time doesn't feel long at all. It is definetly worth a watch.
November 24, 2016
Long film has some good action scenes. The shared screen time between De Niro and Pacino is the highlight. Tom Hiddleston does a killer impression set (doing both parts) of said scene in the diner. On Blu-ray.
November 14, 2016
When a crew of professional career criminals comprising of Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) and his crew; Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer), Michael Cheritto (Tom Sizemore), and Trejo (Danny Trejo), hire Waingro (Kevin Gage) to help them rob $1.6 million in bearer bonds from an armored car. In the process of the heist, Waingro impulsively kills a guard. Waingro clearly an unknown quantity and obviously a psychotic was clearly a mistake the crew realise much too late. McCauley in particular is full of rage and attempts to dispose of Waingro but fails.

Intensely dedicated and hungry senior Police Officier Lt Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) assigned to the case instantly recognises this is not the work of a bunch of amatuers and this is a professionally focused crew that he intends to take down. McCauley's fence Nate suggests that they can sell the bonds back to it's owner, a money launderer by the name of Van Zant (William Fitchner). Van Zant agrees but intends to teach them a lesson for stealing from him, although Zant is unaware how careful McCauley and crew are and when the attempt is foiled, McCauley vows revenge and chillingly intones to Zant that he's a dead man with a piece of the most memorable dialogue from the film.

Hanna in the process of investigating the crew grows to admire McCauley and his professionalism despite determined to bring him to justice, leading to a meeting in the now famous coffee shop sequence of the film. Waingro emerges to assist Van Zant in finding McCauley and his crew before they can get to him. Events are put in place as the film including an earth shuddering and visceral gun battle to end all gun battles pursues to it's sombre and emotionally charged ending.

As someone who was priviledged to have caught Heat on the original UK theatrical release (1996) I remember anticipating it greatly for the pedigree on display but not really quite ready for what I saw. My reason for revisiting this film I was lucky enough to see recently a new digital restoration of this film. This is something the film had desperately needed, even the much improved Blu ray presentation was not without issues. I'm happy to say that this version that was premiered recently at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theatre followed by a Q&A chaired by super fan Christopher Nolan who fielded questions to the attending cast and crew including Mann, De Niro, Pacino and cinematogrpaher Dante Spinotti amongst others is finally a fitting enough version of this much influential masterwork. The dialogue issues have been sorted and the 4K treatment has done nothing to alter it's film like appearance, no digital scrubbing evident here.

Heat certainly didn't echo anything that the decade had previously given us within the cop thriller genre. This absorbing meditation of crime with it's richly drawn characters and a cast to match with Italian American acting titans De Niro and Pacino at the lead stood out in an area of films that had become somewhat disposable and flashy in the 1980's and 90's.

Heat in comparrison did and still continues to sate my appetite for a thrilling and hugely entertaining piece of cinema that doesn't require I leave my brian disengaged. Michael Mann who meticulously researched and prepared before writing and directing this modern masterpiece. Mann had already impressed with Manhunter, the first film attempt at exploring Thomas Harris' Hannibal Lecter series as well as Thief but Heat saw him armed with a bigger budget than ever and the ace in his pocket two actors who the world had been waiting to see sparring on the screen together for decades. De Niro and Pacino had appeared in the same film but not sharing any screen time, this was the Godfather Part 2 where De Niro played the younger Vito Coreleone in flashback to Pacino's Michael in the present day.

Although certainly not all but some felt short changed at Mann's decison to keep both leading men while continuosly linked throughout the story to not meet on screen until the now much celebrated coffee shop sequence. They would cross each paths at the end but this meet up was one of the major talking points of the film on release and continues to be studied even now. While some felt they'd been cheated with the billing of these two on the poster to get one actual scene of proper dialogue my view then and now still is that less is indeed more.

On subsequent viewings leading up to it makes it that more rewarding when it arrives. It's not like fireworks are set off, it's actually just a simple conversation between 2 professionals that who admire each other but happen to sit on opposite sides of the fence. It's more that Mann doesn't make it a big deal that it becomes the legendary scene that other actors have lauded ever since it appeared. Though this isn't to do the rest of the film a disservice from the slow burn opening that leads to the tense bail bonds robbbery that puts the story in motion right up to the emotionally charged but sombre climax, Heat is an example of what can be accomplished within what had become a tired and worn genre.

A number of films have tried to match up to it's standard but failed, Ben Affleck's directed The Town is clearly taking inspiration but depite being an admirable work feels more like a tribute act than an original in it's own light. The more recent Triple 9 directed by John Hillcoat despite it's cast seems redundant and shallow in comparrison. It's fair to say the genre is yet to find a successor. As well as the complaints of the lack of screen time for the leads some of it's detractors seem to have expected something more action charged from the film, rather than at times a slow burn meditation of a film. Heat is given time to breathe offer characterisations. Mann offers enough of Hanna's home life for us to see that his job is well on its way to ruining his now third marriage. Diane Venora's Justine is a three dimensional character as opposed to the usual cliched cops wife and gets enough screentime to make this feel real and not just a plot device

Even fans of the film have talked about Pacino's tendency to overract and while I'm probably more of a fan of him than De Niro by a small margin I must admit as he's got older his acting has somewhat got less sublte and on occasions scenry chomping like. Although I would argue that Pacino essays Hanna quite brilliantly, he's a great counter point to De Niro's more reserved criminal. In the recent Q&A with Christopher Nolan Pacino revealed something that some had already suspected, that Hanna chipped cocaine to maintain his intensity. Hanna intones in one scene "It keeps me sharp, on the edge, where I gotta be" when he's explaining why he can't share his job details to his Wife Justine. Though the big shouty moments seem to get most of the attention though the real brilliance of his performance is the more subtle moments, the way he surveys a crime scene the way he commands his team, Pacino has clearly researched this role and this definitely comes through in his portrayal, it doesn't feel like he's just strapped on a gun and badge and is going through the motions.

McCauley's is more of a closed book and intentionally so, though from the moment he meets Amy Brenneman's Edie she opens him to an alternative to his current situation. By Allowing some variety into life and a someone to care about he betrays his usual life style that has abled him to maintain his profession so successfully. The complexity of his situation leads to his fate, he wants change but in the end he can't let go of his old life but then this new aspect he's invited in also contributes to where he ends up. The genre rarely offers such depth and it'a part of the reason the film has been reverred and it has resonated with many directors over last 2 decades. De Niro is simply like Pacino electrifying, his intensity his layered reading, while a methodical professional with a ruthless calculating mind but also loyal and clearly a caring friend and later lover.

Where some have sugggested De Niro has the edge I would argue neither comes out on top here. It's only on subsequent viewings you see that Pacino is easilly equal to De Niro, it's something that is likely to be debated over as it has been throughout their career who is the best? Well here for me they are equal and the wait to see them on the screen together was more than worth it.

With two leads a given, Heat also has an outstanding supporting cast, one thing the film does is remind you of what a talent Val Kilmer was. He's rarely been better and offers a layered portrayal of Chris Shiherlis. A gambling addiction which is impacting on his marriage to Charlene a career best performance from an excellent Ashley Judd. Their final scene together is heartbreaking, both depsite their problems clearly deeply love each other. Mann unlike some of his peers as with Verona can write exceptionally well for women, both are integral to their male counterpoints and not just thinly written stereotypes. Another actor that has disappeared off the radar at one point seem to have a promising career is Tom Sizemore, here as Michael Cheritto, while not quite as impressive as Kilmer and Judd he offers a superb performance as action junkie sociopath Cheritto. Dany Trejo is fine as Trejo although he's the least interesting of the group.

Hanna's team also offers more quality supporting roles, Mykelti Williamson's Sgt Drucker is probably the one who gets the most screentime, an incredibly gifted actor who not only gets some great dialogue but all has some great scenes, especially with Judd towards the end of the film. Ted Levine as Bosco makes the most of his screentime and Wes Studi is on fine form as loyal soldier Casals. The supporting cast is so rich with even a seasoned actor like Jon Voight gets a key but brief role as McCauley's fence Nate and Chris Noonan already having delivered a memorable turn in Mann's Manhunter appears briefly as well. With also Hank Azaria and Jeremey Piven making an appearance.

As well as the obvious heavy weight leads the other star here is obviously Michael Mann himself who not only presents his greateast directorial effort to date but also furnishes himself with a terrific script that serves all so impressively. Mann meticulously researched this before starting production and due to his connections with law enforcement was allowed to get a first hand experience, that he would channel into his script. The story has more than some basis in fact, Mann had already attempted to look at McCauley and Hanna's story when he directed a TV Movie L.A Takedown in 1989. McCauley was the fictional Patrick McClaren in the film, he changed it to the real life McCauley for Heat. Both films are based on the real life story of Neil McCauley a calcualting criminal who was eventually killed by real life Hanna Chuck Adamson. Voight's Nate is based on Edward Bunker a ex con, acclaimed author and also Mr Blue in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. Mann also is served by the legendary Dante Spinotti who imbues the film with it's distinctive look.


The film has some subplots that you can imagine a studio executive might have wanted gone to tighten up the film. One in particular has Dennis Haysbert as an ex con Breeden trying to rehabilitate back into sociey with the assistance of his wife. His predicament seeing him having to accept humilating employment where he's taken advantage of. His stories inclusion here though only makes sense later in the film and like with the key characters rather than some plot device he's a living breathing character that when we see his fate when he's unable to leave behind his old life not unlike McCauley we understand the tragedy fully of his predicamant. It's a testament to Mann to not remove it, when other less expertly made films would surely have cut it out to save on time. Mann actually doesn't believe Heat to be a genre film and there is some truth to this. Yes it does inhabit that world but it deals with other things like Chris and Charlenes marriage issues and also Hanna's trouble teenage step daughter played by the then 14 year old Natalie Portman.The disappointment of some that it's not more of a quick action fix is a tonic to others. This is the very opposite of the quick fire shallow Michael Bay like pyrothechnics that seemed to populate the 90's and beyond.

That being said Heat certainly doesn't short change us on action, ironically although it can't be described as an action film it delivers one segment that towers above any action sequence of that decade and beyond. When McCauley's crew pull their final job they walk straight out of the bank they have just robbed right into Hanna and his squad, they have no alternative but to battle it out with the high powered weapons they are carrying. Staying with the theme of realism, Mann employed the ex British special force (SAS) member Andy Mcnabb to stage the ensuing gun battle. The litteral deafening raining gun fire as McCauley and his men tried to evade capture and Hanna and team try to stop them. Think William Friedkin and Owen Roitzman's staging of their legendary car pursuit in the French Connection and apply that method to this scene and you'll get some idea of the sheer visceral intensity that is experienced.

Heat is simply a testament to what can be done with the good old fashioned cops and robbers theme invested with a top class cast and crew firing on all cylinders. It does not short change in any department, to be honest you could talk about this film for hours. The best way to appreciate this masterpiece is to watch it, if it's your first time boy you are in for a treat but if it's a film that you are more than familiar with, because of it's dense and epic content there is always something new to see within it's layers, Heat litterally is the gift that keeps giving.
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