Heat Screen 8 articles



Heat Poster
  • Today, Heat looks like a hugely condensed season of first-rate television, with the sprawling narrative and multi-character arcs we now associate with that medium. (See also:Contagion.) Bump it up to 10 or 12 hours on HBO and the material that currently feels thin... would have a chance to breathe. As it stands, there's a disjunction here between Mann's expansive attention to detail and his mythmaking instincts.

  • This isn't a film about the futility of law and order, but the codependence between law and crime. It's also an awe-inspiring portrait of contemporary Los Angeles, as striking a postmodern (in the architectural sense) piece of art as any of Antonioni's 60s films.

  • What you find [in Heat is] a masterful sense of proportion, several staggeringly tense set-pieces, the last truly great lead performance of De Niro’s career, and the clearest possible expression of a familiar theme, which reaches its peak in the final shot, with two men posed as purposefully as figures in a Renaissance painting, while airport runway lights converge behind them into a vanishing point and Moby’s “God Moving Over The Face Of The Waters” rises on the soundtrack.

  • Viewing it for the first time on the big screen since my days as a teenage moviegoer, I was struck by Mann’s use of Los Angeles as a panorama of impermanence, where connections made in glassy modernist houses are as fleeting as brushes in diners, nightclubs, and hotels—emotional bonds flaring and fading like neon signs in the city’s nocturnal topography. The greatest (unofficial) Western in two decades, Mann’s dance of obsessed cops and taciturn criminals never fails to bring me to tears.

  • Silhouetted Robert De Niro placing his gun down on a table in his clean-lined modern house as he looks out into a oceanic void in Heat (1995) is an image beautiful in itself, but made crushing by its evocation of Neil McCauley’s chosen life of loneliness.

  • “Heat” offers a few breathtaking twists, which arise from a quasi-documentary attention to the masterminding of a criminal scheme, and some remarkable reversals resulting from double and triple crosses. The film has the sense of a manifesto, of a throwdown declaration that it will be a masterwork or nothing. It’s neither. It’s Mann’s masterwork in the classic sense of the term—a proof of his mastery, which is prodigious.

  • In Hanna’s case, the film is structured around the toll that being a detective... takes on his marriage. In McCauley’s case, it’s the opposite. When we first see him, he lives in an empty, beautiful house, and is intimate with no one. Later, when he meets Eady and falls for her, he begins to open up. And suddenly, his emotional life starts to take a toll on his work. It’s this contrast that gives Heat such depth and turns it into something resembling poetry.

  • Capitalizing on the director’s extraordinary capacity for scenic rendering, and playing host to a geographic bounty of Los Angeles locales, the film is a vivid portrait of a city, of the people who reside there, and of the varied textures that bond and extricate the two. Mann infuses and reflects the resulting relationships, developing visual and aural accents to construct and extrapolate character identity.

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