Heat (1995 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Mann|
|Produced by||Michael Mann
|Written by||Michael Mann|
|Music by||Elliot Goldenthal|
|Editing by||Pasquale Buba
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Running time||170 minutes|
Heat is a 1995 American crime film written and directed by Michael Mann. It stars Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and Val Kilmer. De Niro plays Neil McCauley, a professional thief, while Pacino plays Lt. Vincent Hanna, a veteran L.A.P.D. robbery-homicide detective tracking down McCauley's crew. The central conflict is based on the experiences of former Chicago police officer Chuck Adamson and his pursuit in the 1960s of a criminal named McCauley, after whom De Niro's character is named. Heat was a critical and commercial success, grossing $67 million in the United States and $187 million worldwide.
Career criminal Neil McCauley and his crew, Chris Shiherlis, Michael Cheritto and Trejo, hire new recruit Waingro and commit an armored car heist, stealing $1.6 million in bearer bonds from money launderer Roger Van Zant. Waingro impulsively kills one of the guards however, forcing them to kill the remaining two to leave no witnesses. An infuriated McCauley tries to kill Waingro afterwards, but he escapes. Afterwards McCauley's fence, Nate, suggests they try to sell the bonds back to Van Zant, who agrees but secretly instructs his men to kill McCauley at the meeting. With backup from his crew, McCauley thwarts the ambush and vows revenge.
Lieutenant Vincent Hanna of the LAPD leads the investigation of the heist and learns that McCauley's crew plans to rob a precious metals depository. Hanna and his unit—Sergeant Drucker and Detectives Sammy Casals, Mike Bosko, and Danny Schwartz—stake out the depository, but when an officer inadvertently makes a noise, McCauley is alerted and abandons it. Despite the police surveillance, McCauley and his crew take on a final heist, a brazen bank holdup worth $12 million, to secure their personal lives. Hanna's unit investigates the murder of a prostitute by Waingro, putting them on his trail. Waingro later approaches Van Zant in search of work and revenge against McCauley.
Hanna learns that his wife Justine is having an affair and moves to a hotel, while McCauley finds a relationship with Eady, a woman he meets in a cafe. Hanna deliberately intercepts McCauley and invites him to coffee. Meeting face to face, each concedes to the other the problems of his personal life. Hanna describes his concern for his depressed stepdaughter Lauren and the failure of his third marriage due to his obsession with work, and McCauley confesses that life as a criminal forbids attachment and requires mobility, making his relationship with his girlfriend tenuous. Both men admit their commitment to their work and will not hesitate to kill the other if the circumstances demand it.
Hanna discovers that McCauley and his crew have evaded their surveillance, but Trejo is compromised. In need of a new getaway driver, McCauley recruits Donald Breedan, an ex-convict working a dead-end job at a diner. Hanna's unit is alerted to the robbery by a confidential informant and surprises McCauley's crew as they exit the bank. Cheritto, Breedan, and several police officers, including Detective Bosko, are killed in the ensuing shootout. McCauley narrowly escapes with an injured Shiherlis, and leaves him with a doctor to treat his wounds. He tracks down Trejo, whom he finds beaten to a bloody pulp with his wife murdered. Trejo reveals that Waingro was the informant. McCauley finishes off Trejo at his own request, then kills Van Zant at his home. He makes plans to flee to New Zealand with Eady, who he reconciles with after she becomes aware of his criminal activities. The police surveil Waingro in a hotel near Los Angeles International Airport, and Hanna attempts to bait McCauley into coming out of hiding by releasing Waingro's whereabouts through his contacts.
Shiherlis' estranged wife Charlene is lured by her lover Alan Marciano to a police safe house, where Drucker threatens to charge her as an accomplice and send her son into foster care if she doesn't betray her husband to the police. Charlene initially agrees, but, when Shiherlis shows up in disguise, she surreptitiously warns him, and he slips through the dragnet. Hanna finds Lauren unconscious in his hotel room from a suicide attempt and rushes her to the hospital. As he and Justine wait in the lobby, they reconcile but admit their marriage will never work. McCauley and Eady are en route to the airport when Nate calls with Waingro's location. McCauley has a change of heart, risking his assured freedom to exact his revenge. McCauley infiltrates the hotel, creates a distraction by pulling a fire alarm, and kills Waingro. Moments away from escape, he is forced to abandon Eady when Hanna approaches through the crowd. Hanna chases McCauley into a field outside the LAX freight terminal and mortally wounds him, before holding McCauley's hand as he dies.
- Al Pacino as Lt. Vincent Hanna
- Robert De Niro as Neil McCauley
- Val Kilmer as Chris Shiherlis
- Jon Voight as Nate
- Tom Sizemore as Michael Cheritto
- Diane Venora as Justine Hanna
- Amy Brenneman as Eady
- Ashley Judd as Charlene Shiherlis
- Mykelti Williamson as Sergeant Drucker
- Wes Studi as Detective Casals
- Ted Levine as Detective Bosko
- Dennis Haysbert as Donald Breedan
- William Fichtner as Roger Van Zant
- Natalie Portman as Lauren Gustafson
- Tom Noonan as Kelso
- Kevin Gage as Waingro
- Hank Azaria as Alan Marciano
- Susan Traylor as Elaine Cheritto
- Kim Staunton as Lillian Breedan
- Danny Trejo as Trejo
- Henry Rollins as Hugh Benny
- Jerry Trimble as Detective Schwartz
- Ricky Harris as Albert Torena
- Bud Cort as Cook
- Tone Lōc as Richard Torena
- Begonya Plaza as Anna Trejo
- Jeremy Piven as Dr. Bob
- Xander Berkeley as Ralph
The film is based on Detective Chuck Adamson's pursuit of serial criminal Neil McCauley in the 1960s. According to the featurettes Pacino, DeNiro and the Conversation and The Making of Heat: True Crime, included in the special edition DVD, which includes a taped interview with Adamson, the scene of McCauley and Hanna in the restaurant was also based on a real event. Adamson met the real McCauley in a coffee shop and openly discussed the possible course of future events. The scene in which McCauley abandons the precious metal heist after hearing a noise was also based on a real event. McCauley abandoned the score after one of Adamson's officers, positioned on the top floor of a building McCauley and his crew were breaking into, broke protocol to go to the toilet. McCauley heard, and withdrew.
Heat was released on December 15, 1995 and opened #3 in the box office with $8,445,656 opening weekend in 1,325 theaters (behind Jumanji and Toy Story respectively). It grossed $67,436,818 in United States box offices, and $120,000,000 in foreign box offices. Heat was ranked the #25 highest-grossing film of 1995.
Heat was well received by critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives a "certified fresh" score of 86% based on 59 reviews, and a score of 76 on Metacritic based on 22 reviews. Roger Ebert gave the film 3½ stars out of 4, writing: "It's not just an action picture. Above all, the dialogue is complex enough to allow the characters to say what they're thinking: They are eloquent, insightful, fanciful, poetic when necessary. They're not trapped with cliches. Of the many imprisonments possible in our world, one of the worst must be to be inarticulate — to be unable to tell another person what you really feel." Simon Cote of The Austin Chronicle called the film "One of the most intelligent crime-thrillers to come along in years", and called Pacino and De Niro's scenes together "poignant and gripping".
Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote that was Heat was, "A sleek, accomplished piece of work, meticulously controlled and completely involving. The dark end of the street doesn't get much more inviting than this." Todd McCarthy of Variety wrote a very positive review, "Stunningly made and incisively acted by a large and terrific cast, Michael Mann's ambitious study of the relativity of good and evil stands apart from other films of its type by virtue of its extraordinarily rich characterizations and its thoughtful, deeply melancholy take on modern life."
The explicit nature of several of the film's scenes was cited as the model of a spate of robberies since its release. This included armored car robberies in South Africa, Colombia, Denmark, and Norway.
A "bare bones" edition of Heat was released on DVD in 1999, which didn't include any extra features. A two-disc special edition DVD was released in 2005, featuring an audio commentary by Michael Mann, deleted scenes, and numerous documentaries detailing the film's production.
The Blu-ray Disc was released on November 10, 2009, featuring a high definition film transfer, supervised by Mann. As well as approving the look of the transfer, Mann also recut two scenes slightly differently, referring to them as "new content changes". The special edition DVD is the original theatrical cut.
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