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197 words about Heat
Love is a battlefield
Heat is furnished with dream-diorama nightscapes and the brassy skullrattle of gunfire, but it’s the numerous character-work asides that make it the apex of bullheaded masculinity cinema — the Showgirls of movies about men. The scene where Elliot Goldenthal’s nimble score turns gut-wrenching over Pacino embracing a victim’s mother is not necessary, but this indulgent accumulation of detail is how Michael Mann turns his characters from archetypes into humans. Every guy in Heat gets off on how his work exempts him from the drudgery of his social location. Dennis Haysbert’s frycook relishes the chance to tell his boss to eat shit — “I did time for what that motherfucker does every day” — but his anger is siphoned into another scam that chews him up in record time. Everything is subsumed into the work, a stage on which cops and robbers lash out, rage, and die. The shadowplay climax sees star-crossed lovers Vincent and Neil dart through an anonymous stretch of airfield infrastructure shot like a sculpture garden, a nowhere place charged with transcendent pathos. Of course the apex predator takes down his prey; and in doing so destroys the only churning, consuming passion he ever had.