There have been plenty of movies that focus on the 'villains' and there also have been plenty of movies that focus on both the good and bad guys equally, often too emphasize the rivalry and duality. Yet, there hadn't been- and still isn't a movie that did this all quite as well as "Heat".

Key reason why this movie works out so well is because of its two lead characters and actors portraying them. Al Pacino and Robert De Niro are of course more than worthy adversaries but thing the movie does specifically well is that it doesn't ever pick sides with any party or person. You can root for either the Pacino or De Niro character, or even for both of them, at the very same time. Both are two individual, flawed, human beings, operating on the opposite sides of the law and yet they have a lot in common. Both do the only thing they know to do well in life and there also is a mutual respect between the two of them because of that. This provides the movie with some interesting dynamics and clashes between its two main leads, who for the very first time also shared a scene together in a movie.

I think that history has proved by now it's not the classic scene many people made it out to be but still it remains a great scene of course, only surpassed by a handful of even greater and more effective moments, in this movie.

Thing you also have to remember and realize about this movie is that it got made in a time when the more realistic, raw, gritty and subtle kind of action/thrillers weren't all that popular and common yet again. You could therefore also say this movie was a bit of a trend-setter, that took a realistic and raw approach to the genre, by providing the movie with some more layers, to both its story and characters.

There is truly plenty happening in this movie, also since there are quite a few characters in it. Yet it never becomes too much or gets too hard to follow. Because the story and characters are all engaging ones, the drama also works out exceptionally well within the movie.

All of this is of course also thanks to its cast and not just its two main leads. The movie is filled with well known names, who besides all suit the parts well. This movie also once more make you realize what a shame it was Val Kilmer's career rapidly went south, not too long after this movie. He had a bit of a weird career, that started off with big hits and just when he was ready to proof and show to the world what a great actor he actually was as well, his career rapidly declined, somewhere in the mid-nineties. Somehow it seems that still Kilmer is mostly to 'blame' for this, since he always comes across as a person who doesn't really care and has no interest in being a big star and receive awards, or star in big movies, with well known directors.

With this movie, director Michael Mann, most definitely established his names as a director. He further more developed and perfected his own style with this movie and showed what a great storyteller he is. He can turn the most dry drama into something tense, involving or exciting, as he all clearly demonstrates within this movie as well.

This is simply is one great and engaging movie, you can say nothing negative about.

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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