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Heat (1995)

Duration2h 50m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: R, Denmark: 15 
Source of storyBased on a real detective/bank robber relationship in the 1960s, which resulted in a terminal shoot-out.
DirectorMichael Mann
Writers/ScriptMichael Mann
StarringAl Pacino, Robert De Nero, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Diane Venora, Ashley Judd, Ted Levine, Dennis Haysbert, Natalie Portman, Hank Azaria, Danny Trejo, Henry Rollins, Jeremy Piven, 
RatingsIMDb: 8.3/10 by 650,244 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 88% by 83 reviewers. Review2view: 7.5/10.

Summary: The success of a slick team of robbers is marred when a new hand Waingro, randomly kills a security guard. The leader Neil McCauley decides to kill him but he escapes. Waingro’s subsequent unrelated killings allow Lieutenant Hanna, a driven homicide detective, to get a bead on the McCauley gang but despite the surveillance the robbers continue to go about their business frustrating the detectives. Hanna has marital problems, his wife becoming intolerant of his constant absences and his stepdaughter suffering from depression. Meanwhile McCauley, against his own better judgement, becomes involved with a young woman. Things come to a head when the police get word of a bank robbery being carried out by the gang.

Content: There is inference that sex has taken place but no nudity. A bit of drinking but don’t remember anyone smoking. The gang carry out the robbery of an armoured van where Waingro kills a guard. Later in a possible exchange of bonds for cash in a deserted drive-in they kill two assassins who are intent on terminating them. Lt Hanna argues with his wife and later saved his step-daughter from suicide maybe re-uniting them. One of the other robbers, Chris, also has a bit of wife trouble and Neil McCauley is seen to develop a relationship with a young woman. Famously, the policeman and the robber have coffee together and compare notes apparently reflecting a real event.

A View: This is a famous film, No 111 in the IMDb ranking of popular films and probably setting a standard for some real bank robbers, and all further heist films, where the villains now always use stopwatches. This is the second or third time I have seen it, and it seems to me that there is a real error in the plot. Since Neil McCauley is a super clever robber what was he doing hiring a serial killer?

And apart from that, it is too long. Surely the director could have cut fifteen minutes out of it. But even so, probably worth a watch if you like heist movies.

There are a few other films reviewed on this site directed by Michael Mann including: Public Enemies, Miami Vice and Collateral.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels



  1. Pingback: High Crimes (2002) | A MOTION PICTURE LIST - November 13, 2022

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