Heat was released in 1995. It was written and directed by Michael Mann, who at the time was most famous for creating eighties cringe-fest Miami Vice. It is also a remake of his own TV movie L.A. Takedown.
This film was huge at the time because it finally brought together two of actings most popular and talented thespians- Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Although they had both appeared in The Godfather: Part Ii, they did not share a nanosecond of screen time.
The plot of the movie focuses on a gang led by De Niro, who rob banks and anything else they deem feasible. They are a tight-knit group and are very professional in their attitudes towards jobs. This all goes awry when they hire a new guy to complete the robbery of an armoured truck. Waingro turns out to be very trigger-happy and compromises their usual low profile. This infuriates the gang and they look to eliminate him, but he escapes before they have the opportunity. Due to the botched robbery, they draw the attentions of Al Pacino and his dogged detectives. What follows is a cat and mouse affair between Pacino and De Niro, who respect each other despite being on different sides of the law.
The film has numerous memorable set pieces, not least the famous coffee shop scene. This marks their first proper meeting in the movie. It is a great moment in cinema history and certainly does not disappoint, as we get to know a little more about their characters and their personalities. Pacino is his usual bombastic self, whereas De Niro is introverted and cautious. Heat also features a fantastic bank robbery scene replete with all the gun firing, glass shattering, Tyre popping carnage you could ever wish for.
Besides Al and Bob, the film’s cast includes Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Ashley Judd, a young Natalie Portman and a still worthwhile Tom Sizemore. Hank Azaria, who voices many popular characters on The Simpsons, also turns up and is on the receiving end of one of Pacino’s volcanic tirades. Listen out for the famous ‘owl’ line, which bizarrely enough, Al himself was on the end of in 1989s Sea of Love. The film also contains Pacino’s hilarious rant about his tv.
At 164 minutes, the film is a little long, but this is my only criticism. The ace acting, moody atmosphere and ethereal music are all extremely rewarding. This is, in my opinion, the last great movie that either actor has produced in the last twenty years. So sit back and enjoy these legends when they could still deliver the goods.