Heat (1995) Movie Review

By: Movie Snurb (A T0ast) –

Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) is the leader of an intelligent and efficient crew of heist professionals. However, they pull a heist of an armored truck and it goes wrong when one of the men kills a guard. Now they have the heat from a cunning detective Lt. Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino). Heat plays as the coolest chess match you’ll ever watch between De Niro and Pacino. This battle of wits culminates when the group decides to knock over a federal bank; it’s enough money for De Niro to walk away. However, the only thing standing in his way is Al Pacino and a beautiful woman. Who will win this showdown? It’s a 3-hour chess match that will keep you on the edge of our seat the entire time.

A Toast

This film is all about Robert De Niro and Al Pacino shining in their roles opposite of each other. De Niro plays Neil perfectly as the cool, quiet, and thoughtful bank robber. This is a more reserved role for De Niro and he nails the role, no outbursts, no big showy scenes. However, when he is on camera he commands the room. Al Pacino’s Vincent Hanna is the opposite, he’s loud and raging, he’s a pissed bull in a ring full of rodeo clowns. Vincent and Neil are complete opposites in ever facet of their life: personality, how they do their job, relationships. Yet, they have high respect for each other; it’s evident in the scene where they sit down and have coffee together.

Michael Mann is an expert filmmaker and Heat is probably the film that shows this the best. The robbery scenes are the greatest heist scenes in any heist film, you can tell the effect these scenes had on pop culture in movies, TV, and even video games (GTA V). Also, Heat created copycat criminals trying to pull off these heists in real life… that’s an impression. Not only is his eye behind the camera masterful, but the screenplay is brilliant. The best scene in the film isn’t one of the heist scenes, but when Vincent and Neil are sitting and drinking coffee and talking. You’re hanging on every word waiting for what might happen. It’s a thrilling moment in film history and yet it’s just two men sitting at a table talking.

Mann’s style is unique and very cool. It’s his decision to use natural lighting while filming with a high frame rate camera that makes the lights so vivid. Not only the lights but his decision to not alter the sound of the machine guns in the massive shootout towards the end of the film. The loud echo is the reverberation of the guns off of the buildings. It’s loud but gives the audience the feeling that they’re in the film right along Robert De Niro and Val Kilmer as they are trying to escape the police. Michael Mann is one of the most stylish and genius directors in the business.


Heat is Michael Mann’s best film with a heavyweight showdown between Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. The film is cool and slick and its 3-hour run-time feels like it’s 90 minutes. I’m confident in saying it’s one of the best films of the 90’s.

Heat (1995) Movie Review

Take a Drink: every time someone dies.

Do a Shot: every time Al Pacino yells at someone.

Take a Drink: every time you wish you were as cool as Robert De Niro.

Drink a Beer: for every heist that takes place.

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