Magnificently complex crime picture has few equals. 4.5 Stars

Michael Mann’s Heat may concern cops and robbers, but its richness in character exploration and the vividness of its action sequences take it far into another realm of action picture.

Heat (1995)
Released: 15 Dec 1995
Rated: R
Runtime: 170 min
Director: Michael Mann
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Cast: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight
Writer(s): Michael Mann
Plot: A group of professional bank robbers start to feel the heat from police when they unknowingly leave a clue at their latest heist.
IMDB rating: 8.2
MetaScore: 76

Disc Information
Studio: Fox
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, French 5.1 DTS, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other
Rating: R
Run Time: 2 Hr. 50 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: keep case in a slipcover
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 05/09/2017
MSRP: $16.99

The Production: 4.5/5

Michael Mann’s Heat may concern cops and robbers, but its richness in character exploration and the vividness of its action sequences take it far into another realm of action picture. The director’s definitive edition released in this new edition won’t likely reveal any nuances that longtime fans haven’t already ferreted out, but the movie is so richly complex that each new visit to its personal and professional glimpses into the lives of two dedicated teams of men: one upholding the law and one disregarding it always reveals fresh insights and inspirations to the casual viewer. This is, in short, its director’s greatest achievement.

A well-funded and highly professional heist crew headed by mastermind Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) has three big payday jobs on its docket: the theft of $1.6 million in bearer bonds, a lucrative platinum burglary, and the extraction of $12.1 million from a bank. The crew gets away clean from the first job though a new addition to the team Waingro (Kevin Gage) gets trigger happy and kills the three guards and is summarily ejected from the squad. But this misfire is enough to spur an intense investigation by ace LAPA homicide detective Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino), a cagey police veteran who has brought down some of the toughest and most organized gangs in the country. It’s at the second job where McCauley, at this point under surveillance by Hanna and his men, figures out something is amiss and thus aborts the mission, the police letting him and his top lieutenant Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer) escape due to a lack of evidence that could put them away for life. Though McCauley thinks they should pull up stakes and leave Los Angeles (he’s met a woman (Amy Brenneman) he feels he could build a life with) especially after he has a face-to-face meeting with Hanna who lets him know he’s under close scrutiny, he leaves it up to the team whether they should pull off their third job. The decision is made to go for it, and now the stakes for everyone are riding extremely high and the slightest slip-up could mean the difference between life and death.

Writer-producer-director Michael Mann has treated all of his characters as protagonists in his amazingly written and cagily structured screenplay. We basically go back-and-forth between the cops and the robbers peering into their professional worlds while at the same time seeing the upsides and (mostly) downsides of the lives they have chosen to live with loved ones who, on both sides of the law, are burdened by the choices being made for the work subsequently affecting unstable family life. Mann’s direction of the three heists is exemplary and a perfect example of where he has placed narrative before his visual style for a change: the first one going off with great precision, the second aborted right before the score is made, and the third ending in one of the most kinetically explosive street-level gun battles in movie history. From that point on, the film only gains in suspense as the heist survivors try to get out of town while holding on to pieces of their existences they want to retain while at the same time feeling the need to settle the score with squealers and screw-ups. The police side of the story is also well captured with long hours of surveillance, split-second decisions having to be made about arrests, and the efforts to defend themselves while keeping terrified onlookers safe from the sprays of bullets coming from the mobsters who don’t care whom they hit. There are a couple of missteps along the way: a subplot involving Hanna’s stepdaughter Lauren (Natalie Portman), distraught over the indifference of her real-life father, seems an unnecessary complexity to his personal story which is already fraught with explosive derision with his dissatisfied wife Justine (Diane Venora), and the climactic chase of McCauley by Hanna across LAX into adjoining fields and outbuildings is more rudimentary than it should have been with two minds as keen as these two enemies behaving in less than intelligent fashion.

Al Pacino receives top billing and offers the more bombastic and showy of the two leading performances. (Pacino later revealed there were cut scenes that showed his character was a cocaine user which would account for his sometimes overly manic behavior.) Robert De Niro is restrained and almost admirable as the brilliant crook who lives strictly by a solitary code that works for him, until it doesn’t and he falls victim to solving his loneliness by involving himself intimately with someone else. The two legendary actors’ first scene together coming some ninety minutes into the movie is the kind of thing students of acting can study for years for the nuances of give and take that the two actors provide. Val Kilmer is unpredictably fun to watch as the feisty Chris while Tom Sizemore as the more settled and cool-headed Mike Cheritto offers an outstanding performance. Jon Voight plays the enigmatic fixer Nate with his fingers in lots of pies while Dennis Haysbert is fine (but underused) as a late-joining member of the crew replacing the psychopath played engagingly by Kevin Gage. On the law-abiding side of the equation, Hanna’s team is wonderfully acted by Wes Studi, Ted Levine, and Mykelti Williamson. Others operating on the illegal fringes of the story (while still vitally important to its unspooling) are William Fichtner and Hank Azaria. As the women in the lives of these men, Diane Venora, Amy Brenneman, and Ashley Judd all have moments to shine and do much with their limited screen time. The very young Natalie Portman also does superbly with her few scenes as the disturbed Lauren.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

This new restoration supervised by the director and overseen by Fox’s Shawn Belston is a honey, the theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 being faithfully delivered in 1080p resolution using the AVC codec. There isn’t an age-related spot or speck to be seen, and sharpness is consistently excellent except in scenes which have always featured softer cinematography. Black levels are wonderfully rich and deep, and shadow detail is very pleasing. Color throughout is controlled and very realistic with very believable skin tones. The movie has been divided into 52 chapters.

Audio: 5/5

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix is as enveloping and kinetic as it ever has been with thundering bass where appropriate (all the scenes at LAX feature takeoffs and landings panning across and through the soundstage), and the most creative sound design offering split atmospheric effects throughout that put the viewer into the center of the action. Dialogue has been superbly recorded and has been placed in the center channel. The music by Elliot Goldenthal and songs by Moby get excellent spread through the fronts and rears.

Special Features: 5/5

The feature film Blu-ray contains the familiar audio commentary by producer Michael Mann, pretty much explaining action on the screen and offering psychological explanations for the choices the characters are making.

All of the other bonus material is contained on a separate Blu-ray disc. It contains:

Academy Panel Discussion (1:03:23, HD): director Christopher Nolan first introduces writer-director Michael Mann and stars Al Pacino and Robert De Niro who answer his questions for about half an hour. Then additional members of the production company including actors Val Kilmer, Mykelti Williamson, and Diane Verona, editor Dov Hoenig, and producer Art Linson come onto the stage and also take part in the questions and answers.

TIFF Q&A (30:27, HD): at the Toronto International Film Festival, Heat is screened for a packed audience, and writer-director Michael Mann offers an eight minute introduction and then about twenty-two minutes of questions and answers afterwards.

The Making of Heat (59:12, SD): a three-part documentary on the writing, casting, and production of the movie with comments from writer-director Michael Mann, Chicago police detective Chuck Adamson who gave Mann the inspiration from his true life experiences, historian Richard Lindberg, Mann friend Dennis Farina, technical advisor Tom Elfont, first assistant director Michael Wasman, second assistant director Ami Mann, director of photography Dante Spinotti, producers Art Linson and Pieter Jan Brugge, production designer Neil Spisak, composers Elliot Goldenthal and Moby, sound mixer Chris Jenkins, and actors Diane Venora, Amy Brenneman, Ashley Judd, Mykelti Williamson, Dennis Haysbert, Tom Noonan, Robert De Niro, Jon Voight, Al Pacino, Val Kilmer, and Tom Sizemore.

Pacino and De Niro: The Conversation (9:58, SD): the faceoff between the two legendary actors is commented on by director Michael Mann, producer Pieter Jan Brugge, cinematographer Dante Spinotti (who explains how it was shot), and actors Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Jon Voight, Ashley Judd, and Tom Sizemore.

Return to the Scene of the Crime (12:05, SD): location manager Janice Polley takes us back to many of the locations in Los Angeles used for filming memorable scenes in the movie.

Deleted Scenes (9:44, SD): eleven scenes may be watched individually or in montage.

Theatrical Trailers (6:48, SD): three trailers may be watched together or separately.

Digital Copy: code sheet enclosed in the case.

Overall: 5/5

One of the greatest crime pictures of the last quarter century, Michael Mann’s Heat looks incredibly beautiful and sounds notably amazing in this new restoration offered on Blu-ray. Highly recommended!

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Dave Moritz

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I was lucky enough to see the private screening of Heat (Directors Definitive Edition) this past week in Westwood Village with Michael Man. It was great being able to see the awesome movie on the big screen again.

20170502_225809.jpg
 

TravisR

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I was lucky enough to see the private screening of Heat (Directors Definitive Edition) this past week in Westwood Village with Michael Man. It was great being able to see the awesome movie on the big screen again.
I remember seeing the movie in the theater when it was first released and the sound was so loud that my ears were ringing the next day like I had been at a concert.
 

HenryDuBrow

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I pity anyone, that have to sit through a teal & orange fake darkness mess like this new version. :eek: You couldn't pay me to do it.
 

Robert Crawford

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I pity anyone, that have to sit through a teal & orange fake darkness mess like this new version. :eek: You couldn't pay me to do it.
This movie has been restored and remastered and will be in stores soon. And what I saw at the theater looked great so not sure what your talking about unless there was an issue with the previous blu-ray release. I did not notice any teal or orange issues during the screening I attended.
 
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Robert Crawford

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This movie has been restored and remastered and will be in stores soon. And what I saw at the theater looked great so not sure what your talking about unless there was an issue with the previous blu-ray release.
Dave,

Did he answer any questions about a 4K release?
 

HenryDuBrow

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Even the old comparison review on dvdbeaver show quite a big difference, from a rather normal looking picture to the current and industry hip trend of teal/orange post-production craziness. I expect this new release to be similar or probably worse, at least according to some views I've heard.
 
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Dave,

Did he answer any questions about a 4K release?
This was something I was interested in finding out as well. In the Q&A there was someone sitting next to Michael Mann asking him a bunch of questions. I assume these where questions that where pre approved and discussed prior to the event. The Q&A was held after the movie and after those questions where asked the opened it up to a limited number of questions as it seemed that Michael wanted to be done by a certain time or that the venue wanted to be closed down by a certain time. But to answer your question that question was not asked and I did not have the opportunity to ask if it was going to get a 4K UHD BD release. One guy that was chosen to ask a question did not actually ask a question as he felt it was ok to actually pitch a idea to Michael Mann which actually annoyed many in the audience. I wish I could have asked that question or at least someone that was chosen would have asked that question.

Heat is listed on bluray.com as a upcoming 4K UHD BD release even though there is no actual release date posted so I hope that this title will hopefully come out before Christmas this year.

http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Heat-4K-Blu-ray/162890/
 

Allansfirebird

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Even the old comparison review on dvdbeaver show quite a big difference, from a rather normal looking picture to the current and industry hip trend of teal/orange post-production craziness. I expect this new release to be similar or probably worse, at least according to some views I've heard.
You're aware this disc is a totally new transfer, correct? Until you have some actual evidence on what the new transfer looks like, perhaps listen to the people in this very thread that have actually seen it first.
 
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Brent Reid

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Am not trying to play devil's advocate or anything, but there really are some justified concerns about the way this latest remaster has turned out. The new BD has been available for over two months in the UK and the US's will likely be identical in every way. There's a similarly glowing review of it here and a mammoth thread on it here. I've somehow managed to never see Heat yet and wanted to find out which version to buy, so have read the whole lot. Basically, there are gains and losses over the old release. Gains seem to be largely a matter of opinion, but losses definitely include significant cropping on all four edges and much, but not all, of the film receiving the dreaded teal treatment. Just check out captures 8, 9, 11, 12 and 13 over at Caps-a-holic.

As I said, I had no prior experience of this film and when I started reading up on it I thought buying the latest BD would be a no-brainer. However, after digesting the above and various other threads and reviews, I've opted to go for the original release.
 

titch

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Am not trying to play devil's advocate or anything, but there really are some justified concerns about the way this latest remaster has turned out. The new BD has been available for over two months in the UK and the US's will likely be identical in every way. There's a similarly glowing review of it here and a mammoth thread on it here. I've somehow managed to never see Heat yet and wanted to find out which version to buy, so have read the whole lot. Basically, there are gains and losses over the old release. Gains seem to be largely a matter of opinion, but losses definitely include significant cropping on all four edges and much, but not all, of the film receiving the dreaded teal treatment. Just check out captures 8, 9, 11, 12 and 13 over at Caps-a-holic.

As I said, I had no prior experience of this film and when I started reading up on it I thought buying the latest BD would be a no-brainer. However, after digesting the above and various other threads and reviews, I've opted to go for the original release.
The cropping is minimal and isn't a factor when watching the film. The sound re-encode is significantly better on the new release.
 

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I am interested in having this title on 4K UHD BD!
 
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Carabimero

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I am keeping my current BD even if this new one blows me away on Tuesday. Why? Because I have seen my old BD so many times that is has imprinted in my mind as *the way the movie is.*

Expectations high but withholding judgment until I see it Tuesday.
 

Carlo Medina

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I got it for $7.88 from Amazon, it should arrive tomorrow or Wednesday. I figure, worst case, I'm out $8 if the transfer really is bad. Best case, I just got an awesome remaster of a film I love for under $10. Worth the gamble.
 

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I also have the original WB blu-ray release so I am content to wait for the 4K UHD BD release!
 

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I just watched it. If I had it to do over, I'd wait for the BD mastered from 4K. I mistakenly thought that's what I was buying.
 
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