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movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Heat

Starring: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro
Director: Michael Mann
Rated: R
RunTime: 171 Minutes
Release Date: December 1995
Genres: Action, Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Henry Rollins, Hank Azaria, Susan Traylor, Val Kilmer, Diane Venora, Amy Brenneman, Ashley Judd, Tom Sizemore

Review by Andrew Hicks
3 stars out of 4

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 patrons...

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 Christmas day.

Copyright 1996 Andrew Hicks

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