Mon, 18 February 2019
From Adrian Martin, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die:
"In Michael Mann's telemovie L.A. Takedown (1987), there is a scene in which a cop and the criminal he has been obsessively tracking bump into each other while shopping. There is a tense pause, and then the criminal breaks the ice with a classic invitation: 'Coffee?'
"That scene reappears in Mann's Heat, a film whose richly deserved cult following has steadily grown since 1995. Set in Los Angeles, it takes a well-worked theme - the symbiotic relationship between cop Vincent (Al Pacino) and criminal Neil (Robert De Niro) - and meditates moodily upon it. Mann combines a flamboyant, epic style with a manic attention to realistic detail - resulting in indelible set pieces like the street shoot-out.
"In its exploration of family and intimacy, Heat meets a founding theme of noir fiction: the danger of bonding with another person. Agonizing scenes dramatize Neil's assertion that a 'professional' should be able to walk away from everything in his life within thirty seconds. These professional are almost automatons: hard-driven, single-minded, and married to their unsavory work (rather than their teary long-suffering companions). But they are also proud, stoic men, and in their determination lies a lofty splendor to which Mann pays immortal tribute."
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