Excellent acting, good script, decent dvd, weak blu-ray
K. Swanson | Austin, TX United States | 07/25/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
The rating is for the movie...the dvd gets 3 and the blu-ray 2, if just for also including a good hourlong doc, Mann's commentary, 10 minutes of ok deleted scenes, and a picture that is mildly but not much better than the dvd. If you already love this film and are wondering about the blu-ray, wait for the double dip that you just know is on the way.
That said, this really is a special film. Though not perfect---it's a little too long and has a few too many lingering shots of emotionally wraught faces caught in lovers' quarrels for my taste---those are quibbles, and the strengths far outweigh any flaws.
The acting is the real highlight; both DeNiro and Pacino are at the top of their games here, and their scene together is truly one of the great tete-a-tetes of modern actors that I know of. They're both completely inside their roles in every scene, and Al's over the top moments work every time for me, not easy considering how far over some of them are. Bob's slow burn couldn't be more exact, and those two performances alone make this well worth watching.
But then add in very nice turns from almost everyone else; Voight and Kilmer and Sizemore and Judd are all perfect, and in fact I can't think of one performance here that is less than good to very good. And there's a lot of acting from many folks, so Mann did what he's been able to do in almost no other picture: get solid, natural work from all of his actors.
Mann himself is at his peak here; his best writing by far and also his most convincing direction. Less of the Mann trademark shimmering-lights-at-night vibe (but still plenty, he can't help it and why should he, it works) and more simple shots of good actors doing what they do best. He gets far better performances than usual from everyone here, no doubt due to Al and Bob being on set and making everyone step their games up to their limit; you don't want to suck with these two around you!
The opening and late action/heist scenes are two of the best of the past 20 years for my money, and they contrast so well with the personal, emotional moments throughout the film. I could have taken a few less of those and more of Voight, for instance (who is excellent here), but all in all Heat delivers the goods and is likely to be seen as Mann's peak once all is said and done, followed perhaps by Thief.
But just rent this one for now...a much much better transfer is due to show up soon, and a movie this good deserves no less.