Heat and Manhunter are my top two Mann movies and after watching Heat now and for the umpteenth time it wins outright. This is one of those special movies that had all the attention it deserved from a director at the top of his game. I dare say this film would be tough to get made now. Thank fuck it did.
Did you love The Dark Knight? Well Nolan will owe a constant debt to the great Michael Mann and his swansong "Heat". Its the oldest story, Cops and Robbers, that is tailored to perfection. The Good guy is slipping more into the dark as the Bad Guy begins to flirt with the light. This is the original LA Neo Neon Noir Film. Nothing can touch it
A film I've had a wonderfully hot/cold relationship with. A tedious exercise in precision for precision's sake, or just a brilliantly executed masterpiece? The fact every tom-dick-and-harry seems to want to make their own version of this, and setting aside the fact the GTAIV is pretty much a distant echo of this film, the film itself still holds fast.
Strange as it may seem, Heat is a modern classic all too easily dismissed by people who remember it, but don't remember quite how great it REALLY is. I was one of those people. Oh, most claim to love it. And most will rate it highly. But it's worth revisiting to bask in the glow of something close to thriller movie perfection.
I think Michael Mann has never made a better film than this one. His LA - illuminated with cold green and blue metallic colors - is a mirror of the frozen and unemotional relationships of the main characters. Mann often underlines this by encircling his actors with a moving camera to create a narrow space - a kind of invisible cage - around them.
Mann's direction is surprisingly analytical, eschewing directorial flourishes for a pitch-perfect screenplay that focuses on characterizations and dramatic conflicts, and the emotion therein. Mann grounds the story so much in detail and the modus operandi of the police/criminals that even its extraordinary elements feel realistic. Heat may be routine in its plot, but the handling of its detail marks it a masterpiece.
A tragedy of the dazzling pressure of being a man who must practice some kind of alchemy in his work, to prosper without losing selfhood in the course of the pursuit. Neil McCauley is so good at it that he forgets it's a means to an end, but that end is the hard part, you can't construct it. Chris Shiherlis is the real foil to his character as he unfailingly, unrequitedly put his woman first, and (spoiler) he lives.
I can't believe it took me this long to watch it. DeNiro and Pacino going for their final lap with Michael Mann on top form. It could've been a good ol' procedural with goodies vs baddies but the script is very tight and the three hours pass by in a minute. I feel like the 21th century cinema harvested a lot from this crop.