There was a time I did not feel the need to explain why some films are classics and that most of the time these films were generally accepted as such. However now I feel different since apparently some people do seem to think that some of these films have unjustly been regarded as masterpieces. Heat in no way shape or form falls into that category as it is a classic through and through.
Now this does not mean that it's perfect. Somehow people seem to think that masterpieces always are perfect. That is a huge misconception. It's not perfection that makes them masterpieces. But the fact that despite their imperfections still have that something that makes them so good and loved. It's not that hard to find the flaws in Heat. Although why would I feel the need to if every time I watch this film I completely get immersed and enthralled by it. It only takes a few seconds to get into in it and once in you don't want to leave. Even knowing what is going to happen next doesn't diminish the viewing pleasure. In fact it empowers it since then you discover some elements or details you haven't before. One of the things I noticed is how beautiful the film looks. Visually Heat is incredibly gorgeous. And there is no shakey cam whatsoever. So that you can actually see what is happening on the screen. Granted I own the Blu-ray and things obviously look better but still Michael Mann has put a lot of effort into making L.A. into a character itself and that adds to the film in a major way.
Do I really need to mention that the performances are top notch? Both Al Pacino and Robert De Niro are at their best in a time they could do no wrong. It is quite sad to see what has become of them. Most important I find is that despite it's duration and slow buildup that it has not lost it's edge or tension. It is quite amazing how Heat still manages to grab you at scenes you have seen twenty times over. Every action scene is just as exciting as the first time I saw it. (Note: Heat has some memorable action scenes but is not an action film. One of the major criticisms today is the fact that Heat lacks action. Sure a case can be made for this however the action that is present is top notch, thrilling and very memorable. I prefer that over quantity every day.)
Heat is a must watch and must own film. It does more right than it does wrong but more importantly it is a film you can watch over and over again without getting bored. In this day and age that is quite rare. So if for some unfortunate reason you still haven't gotten around to watch this masterpiece yet then do so at once.