With summer abound and this year starting to feel like a year for films again, I saw Heat at the Music Box of downtown Chicago. Heat is one of the best films directed by Michael Mann. This nostalgic experience was worth the experience at the Music Box. When it comes to heist films, Heat is one of those thrillers where the risks are high, and the cat and mouse game gets more suspenseful in many ways. Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino are just brilliant in this thriller, and from both being part of the Godfather series, re-experiencing Heat made me feel that both characters meet again but are on different sides.
Heat takes place in Los Angeles in the 1990s. The film gears on professional bank robbers where a mission goes awry. The head of the thieves is Neil McCauley (DeNiro) and his assistant in his heists operations is Chris Shiherlis (played by Val Kilmer). The detective onto their cases is Lt. Vincent Hanna (Pacino). The film takes a toll on both McCauley and Hanna as they both are after each other but also trying to maintain their troubled lives and careers as the case worsens. It is only a matter of time before one or both (cop and criminal) fall into being in much trouble.
In Heat I come to realize that the film is almost at the three-hour mark. The film did not feel like three hours. The puzzles, the shootouts, the case operations all make the time pass and then make one mission go awry, while another needs to be investigated or on surveillance. Pacino and DeNiro’s performances add to the tension and the excitement as both are known to portray characters that are short-fused. With Pacino, his performance reminded me a lot of Scarface (1983), but now he is not the one who is the criminal, he is the one after the criminals, but displays that anger as he did play Tony Montana. Along with DeNiro having the attitude as he did as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver (1976), however DeNiro is still the criminal in Heat.
Overall, this was an experience that was not to be missed. I find that watching these thrillers many years later the big screen feels like a new experience. Especially for those who have not watched Heat before, or who have not watched it in a while. The film is still a thrill ride of crazy shootouts and tension that is a stellar time. Four stars for Heat.