I saw this movie in a theater on Christmas day. I wouldn't
recommend it, not only because movie theaters are filled on Christmas
with all the losers and lonely people with nowhere else to go (myself
not included, of course), but also because when it comes to peace on
earth and good will toward men, HEAT is left out in the cold. It's a
dark, gritty movie where people are shot point blank with machine
guns for talking. If only the ushers would do that to noisy theater
Al Pacino and Robert De Niro star as polar opposites, Pacino
the cop and De Niro the criminal plotting to knock over a bank. The
two are definite enemies but still have an intriguing sense of politeness
toward each other, knowing they could have been good friends had
circumstances been different. Both know and accept the fact that one
will be triumphant over the other. In one of their few scenes together,
Pacino pulls De Niro over on the highway, only to ask him if he wants
to have a cup of coffee with him. Certainly an unusual relationship
those two have with each other. When's the last time you saw Batman
and The Joker eating a plate of nachos together?
HEAT combines the main story of De Niro planning his big
score and Pacino planning to stop him once he figures out what the big
score is (an important first obstacle to overcome) with other subplots.
Pacino's wife resents his preference of his work to her, his
stepdaughter (Natalie Portman from THE PROFESSIONAL, who
doesn't have any embarrassing Madonna numbers to sing this time)
wants and tries to kill herself and De Niro's henchman, Val "Batman"
Kilmer (when's the last time you saw him sharing a plate of nachos
with The Joker?), has a wife on the verge of leaving him.
It's a depressing, pessimistic movie, to say the least, but a
compelling one. Especially interesting is the plotline that has De Niro
meeting and falling in love with a woman. At first I thought his
flirtation was an act so he could beat her to death with a crowbar once
he got her alone, but it turns out some criminals can experience true
love. (Donald Trump's been married twice.) His love for her causes
complications a little later on, when choices are to be made.
HEAT is three hours long, at least twenty minutes longer than
it should be, but you need that length to tell the full story, I guess.
Even with the lengthy storytelling throughout the movie, the final
scene between De Niro and Pacino is over way too soon. And by the
end, there are still a few unresolved plot points. It's a good movie but it
could be better, and briefer. A word of advice--don't see it on
Copyright © 1996 Andrew Hicks