Thursday, January 19, 2012


Heat, 1995. Directed by Michael Mann.
starring: Robert DeNiro, Val Kilmer, Al Pacino.

"The lives of two men on opposite sides of the law - one a detective; the other a thief." (IMDB).

Now before I really get going on this one (and I'm gonna go, believe me), yes, it's a pretty long ass film. 170 minutes, to be exact. But call me crazy, I loved every one of those minutes and was almost bummed when it was all over.

Forget for a moment that this was back when DeNiro was in his forties (and smokin' hot). Or that Danny Trejo is not only on the crew, but drives an EL CAMINO. There are so many brilliant things in this film that it's hard to even itemize them, but still, I'll try.

Cast: Unbelievable, both lead and supporting players. Jon Voight, Hank Azaria, and (a probably coked-out) Tom Sizemore were my faves; they were just fun to watch together. Bonus for Voight's long, ratty hair, and Ted Levine (JAME GUM) working probably the greatest mustache ever seen in film.

Mise En Scene: Some nice bits of production---the each-different hockey masks from the armored truck takedown and the subsequent fluttering down of car dealership sparkly blue streamer just after the truck crashes. The boat of a station wagon DeNiro drives through that open lot where he's supposed to make the pickup but gets double-crossed (and the way that damned thing bounces like ten feet in the air over all the bumps in the road). And that shoot-out in the middle of LA is pretty impressive; lots of bullets flying, lots of breaking glass, and sorry, but something about DeNiro in a suit, firing off rounds seriously excites me.

Lines: Al Pacino is a pretty outlandish kind of actor, but he's effective, and his lines are funny. Sing-songing "there'll probably be a note on the door," "You can get killed walkin' your doggie!" and "DON'T WASTE MY MOTHER-FUCKIN' TIME!" . . . not to mention the whole "great ass," exchange with Azaria. Over the top, clearly, but hilarious.

Isn't it funny and frustrating how *nothing* they do goes according to plan? Armored truck---jerkoff guy starts shooting the guards (necessitating an already-lined trunk for his later disposal). Station wagon drop-off, all a ploy. Drilling into the metal place, whoops, cop makes a thump, they walk away. Bank, obviously not a smooth operation. My favorite scene in the entire film is Charlene's (Ashley Judd) tiny motion to Chris (Val Kilmer) to let him know that the cops are waiting for him when he sees her out on the balcony, but the two major scenes between DeNiro and Pacino---first their respective deadpans into the camera after the thump gives them away during the metal heist, realizing suddenly that they've just both been made, and second, their little standoff conversation in the diner----these scenes are pretty damned cool, too. And for anyone who really enjoys this film, I highly recommend it with the subtitles on; I feel like I learned everything I thought I was missing before.