Director Michael Mann has only made 11 movies over his forty year career and arguably his best is this 1995 crime heist thriller.
Al Pacino and Robert De Niro were both in The Godfather Part II but they never shared screen time. De Niro played a young version of Pacino’s father Vito in the film so when Heat first appeared in theatres there was lots of hype for their big face off. Director Mann kept that on screen time to a minimum but works.
Robert De Niro is career criminal Neil McCauley. McCauley along with his crew consisting of Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Danny Trejo and a new member Kevin Gage as Waingro rob an armoured car. The heist goes smooth until Wainsgro shoots one of the security guards. The crew quickly turns on Wainsgro and he escapes and goes into hiding.
Al Pacino is Lt. Vincent Hanna and his police unit that he heads is in charge of investigating the robbery. Hanna realizes it’s a professional crew and starts looking for their next job. Meanwhile McCauley tries to sell back the stolen merchandise from the heist to the original owner, businessman Roger Van Zant (William Fichtner). Van Zant in turn tries to have McCauley killed. The crew decide to pull another heist but at the last second discover that Hanna and his men are waiting for them. McCauley walk away from the job at the last second forcing Hanna to let them go.
Wainsgro goes to Van Zant to give info on McCauley and crew. McCauley decides on one last bank job but Trejo doesn’t show up so they have to replace him with Dennis Haysbert. The bank robbery is tipped off and Hanna and his men show up mid-robbery.
Heat is actually a remake of a failed TV pilot turned movie from director Michael Mann called L.A. Takedown. Mann took the script reworked it and got De Niro on board for the movie. De Niro in turn got Pacino interested in the film. The big gunfight scene at the bank robbery is fantastic and intense. Pacino and De Niro only have a couple of scenes together but the movie is fantastic. Heat is currently being screened as part of the Flashback Film Festival and can be seen on the big screen tonight, Sunday February 5 at 8:30.