Heat (1995) – 4/5

Slick and well crafted, though too long by about an hour and partially driven by a strange performance from Al Pacino who really ought to have played things straight here, the film is nonetheless a pretty good crime thriller full of tough, arrogant SOBs shooting big guns at one another in public and blowing stuff up or otherwise engaging in high stakes displays of masculinity. Yeah!

It’s a good crime thriller overall, but the first hour or so really should have been cut, or at the very least shortened. The film works best in the latter half when all the stupid emotional relationship nonsense is finally put on the back-burner and Pacino and Robert De Niro’s characters start facing off directly. None of that schmaltzy crap is nearly as interesting or unique as the conflict between the two principal characters, and it all ultimately ends up hurting the movie as a result, especially all the stuff with Natalie Portman, god.

Still, once it gets going, the film is entertaining. Sure, it feels shallow at times, and Pacino’s performance is weird, but the action scenes are cool, De Niro is fun to watch, and the movie shows a certain degree of technical craftsmanship that you don’t see done as well very often. Worth a watch, just not as great as I had been led to believe.

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