Michael Mann's 'Heat': Betsy Sharkey's film pick of the week
“Heat,” one of Michael Mann's most stylish cuts at crime, will be at Santa Monica’s Aero Theatre on Friday night. It's worth noting because total darkness and a big screen are really requisites for experiencing the full effect of Mann’s meticulous visual artistry.
This 1995 drama, which he also wrote, is an early look at his fascination with the mood-setting possibilities of noir (“Collateral” would follow in 2004). “Heat” also marked the first time Al Pacino and Robert De Niro shared the screen, and their intensity fairly crackles in this tale of obsessions.
For Pacino's LAPD detective, it was catching bad guys; for De Niro's high-end thief, it was a heist gone wrong; for Mann, it was the director's unwillingness to give up on an idea he believed in. He spent roughly 10 years trying to get “Heat” made — the payoff was a critical and box office hit.
“Heat” was worth the wait, and worth a second look now, to appreciate what it took to create this masterful mix of dark shadows, close-ups, mood music and syncopated action — classic Mann.
— Betsy Sharkey
Photo: Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in Michael Mann's "Heat." Credit: Warner Bros.