Heat Special Edition Michael Mann

Heat Special Edition Michael Mann
A decade since its theatrical release and Michael Mann's sprawling, hyper-stylised cops/robbers drama/chess match is just as strong as the day it was released. Wrongfully dubbed a morality play in its not insubstantial featurettes, the duelling police and thieves of Mann's world (an unmistakably slick L.A. that never resorts to tourist landmarks for identification) don't struggle with morality, they merely do what they do best without regards to the innocents hurt: those robbed or killed by Robert De Niro and his crew or the relationships ignored by Al Pacino's driven lieutenant. The marquee value for Heat upon its release was the match-up between De Niro and Pacino, and that thrill is still palpable (being the only film where the two actually share a scene), as master criminal Neil McCauley (De Niro) does what he does best (take down scores) and Lt. Vincent Hanna (Pacino) does what he does best (stopping people like McCauley from taking scores). But while Pacino plays Hanna over the top (with the even then requisite Pacino freak-outs), De Niro's restrained workmanlike manner simmers instead of boils, making his the more challenging role. Watching Heat a decade later, it's easy to see where the roots of the current, more realistic police/criminal dramas (i.e., The Wire) sprung from. On top of the commentary from the always laconic-sounding Michael Mann, there's a look at the chase/grudging respect between the real life McCauley and detective Chuck Adamson that inspired Mann to make Heat, which, while not as grandiose in its interplay or robberies, is still intriguing, especially since the famed "coffee shop" scene between Pacino and DeNiro is also drawn from their conversation. Heat would unquestionably be a masterpiece (despite its long running time) if not for the slightly unfulfilling chase climax at the end, which fails to reach the level of the movie's action beats or its dramatic sequences. Regardless, it's still one of the best cops/robbers/heist films ever made. Plus: featurettes, trailers. (Warner)