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HEAT (1995) Review: Two legends brought together and the result is a masterpiece.

 Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Michael Mann together made a movie which is one of the 90s best action crime dramas.


Heat (1995)

Director: Michael Mann
Writer: Michael Mann
Actors: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kimmer.

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One line summary

There is a smart gang of criminals and on their against is a tough badass cop, both trying to do their best in the respective job amidst other tensions.


Heat is written and directed by Michael Mann. It stars Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Diane Venora, Ashley Judd, Amy Brenneman and Danny Trejo. Music is scored by Elliot Goldenthal and cinematography by Dante Spinoti.

The story is of a cop (Pacino) who puts his full energy into the capture of murderous thieves (DeNiro, Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight, and Ted Levine). But doing this destroys his family life (with stepdaughter Natalie Portman). The goons, as well, find family life is hard to maintain when you're a murderous thief.



This isn't simply Pacino and De Niro. It's Val Kilmer, Ashley Judd, Jon Voight, Diana Venora, Natalie Portman, Tom Sizemore, Amy Brenneman, Wes Studi, Ted Levine, Mykelti Williamson, endlessly. 

Put that marvellous cast under Michael Mann, probably the best director of this genre, include an extraordinary soundtrack and fascinating camera-work and you have an incredible film. At three hours in length, it never exhausts one and at the same time, doesn't exaggerate the activity, either. You can't have three hours of nothing but action, so the three hours is justified for its character-building until the final show-down.

Michael Mann shows himself to be the master of the tense crime drama. The criminals are slick without being greasy. They are more tough and quiet type. Following the criminals elevates the tension and the style points. De Niro is terrific and his encounter with Pacino is the stuff of legend. The cinematography, locations and scenery are superb, and the film's atmosphere and pace are also terrific. The story is plausible and beautifully structured with a breathtaking sequence towards the middle of the film

Who should watch this film?

  • If you are a lover of action films with high drama crime and brilliant background music, you should definitely watch this.

  • The movie takes it time to build the characters in the three long hours, so if you are a person who loves some drama along with action this is the film.

  • The acting of the cast is awesome, their styles are badass. So all in all, brilliant and absolutely worth the time. If you don't mind the violence and the occasionally frenetic pace, then this is a film well worth seeing. Extremely well-directed and never dull.

Release Date: December 15, 1995
Genre: Drama, Crime, Thriller
IMDB Rating: 8.2/10

Neil McCauley: Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.


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