Heat - * * * *

Excellent crime drama. Robert DeNiro is criminal mastermind Neil McCauley, an expert in split-second high-stakes robberies. Al Pacino is Vincent Hanna, an obsessive cop who will stop at nothing to nab his man. When McCauley and crew come to town and begin a string of heists, Hanna is assigned to the case. What follows is an explosive, tension filled cat-and-mouse game. Both Pacino and DeNiro give powerhouse perfomances. DeNiro embues McCauley with a human side, usually missing in the mechanical psychos that frequent this kind of movie. His criminal shows hints of regret for some of the choices he has made, but he conveys the driving passion and addiction for his work that has taken him where he is. Pacino’s cop, too, is discovering a human side. He ignores his rapidly falling apart marriage, his third, as he focuses on his work, to the exclusion of all else; but his growing relationship with his distraught stepdaughter may hold the key to holding together his marriage. The film reveals these details, but never strays from its true story, the hunt. The action sequences are truly riveting and intense, especially a bank robbery that dissolves into violence. The movie is three hours long, yet it maintains its pace and the audience’s attention throughout. Pacino and DeNiro are supported by a broad range of superb supporting actors, including Val Kilmer, John Voight, Ashley Judd, Dennis Haysbert and Wes Studi. Director Michael Mann has created a masterpiece.

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