Sunday, August 20, 2017

#603: Heat

Directed by: MICHAEL MANN
1995, TSPDT Rank #368

Heat is a classic film noir updated for the age of blockbuster action thrillers. The setting is the same, Los Angeles, but the landscape is virtually unrecognizable. After fifty years of urban sprawl and population explosion, the city has now grown to an unmanageable size and even the blinding sunlight doesn't help to put anything in perspective. Michael Mann's style is one of cool hues and fluid motion, with editing so slick that scenes often blend together without the viewer noticing that one scene has given way to another. In the film's world, everyone is a liar, a cheat, a maniac, or a combination of the three - not because they want to be, but because they feel they have to be. Everyone acts according to their nature in the end - nothing is truly left to chance. Human nature is brought into the light - no one is innocent, this is not a world of hard-edged blacks and whites anymore.

Overall, Heat is an incredible piece of work. The narrative is masterfully handled, with a world-class cast, and a script that refuses to give in to easy answers. It's the epitome of neo-noir - noir brought into the light and made new. What once lurked in the shadows, just below the surface, has now taken over everyday life. No one is safe, no one is innocent, and there can be no apologies, regrets, or self-pity - just a full-fledged commitment to one's nature, and nothing else.

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