May 7, 2010
Crime drama - it's a loose word, and entries from this particular genre can either be very good or completely awful. Before I watched this, I wasn't familiar with Michael Mann's work at all, so I was pretty much diving into this movie blind. Granted, it had Robert De Niro and Al Pacino - two great actors - in it, but great acting doesn't always make a great film. While I only thought that Heat was a fair film, I was still able to get some entertainment value out of it.

The film follows two powerfully influential individuals, both of whom specialize in violence. The first is a heist leader, played by Robert De Niro, with a philosophy of keeping emotionally-distant from the world. According to him, one shouldn't have anything in life that they wouldn't give up in 30 seconds flat. The other is a fast-working police detective, who doesn't mind breaking a few laws as long as justice is served. Both of these morally ambiguous players are pitted against each other, though, as a heist-gone-wrong pulls the detective into the investigation.

Great performances are the one element that this film really has going for it. De Niro's great, as always, as the heist leader. It's nothing we haven't seen in one of his previous roles, but he still manages to capture the viewer's attention with his presence. Al Pacino, though, was absolutely fantastic in this film. He's just as hilarious as he is serious, and that really makes his character that much more interesting. Plenty of great quotes abound from his character as well, so he's really 'at his game' in this film.

Other than that, the film kinda falls flat in its other areas. It's not to the extent that it's bad, or average, or poor, it just falls into a category of "OK". The visuals, for instance, look and feel crisp, but there isn't much else to say about them. They're good visuals, but I wasn't blown away or anything. I'll admit, though, that the shootout sequence at the end of Act II was epically amazing.

As far as characterization goes, the characters aren't particularly inspired or memorable. It's bad enough that I just referred to both of the main leads by their respective actors' names, just because the actual characters really weren't that deep of individuals to care about. As I said before, it's not BAD...it's just ok.

Other than that, there isn't too much to say about the film. It's quite sad, because the lack of anything to say usually means the film's forgettable - which it sort of is. It's not bad or anything, as it's fueled by some great performances - but the rest of the film's not much to brag about. From the visuals to the score, it's nothing that I haven't seen before in better films. Overall, Heat's just an above-average crime drama. You could do a lot better than this, but I'm certain that you could also do quite worse.

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