I loved Heat for everything that it had which so many action movies don't.
You've got an action movie with a protagonist and an antagonist who genuinely respect each other. But they are both living in a world where neither man is in a position to let anyone get too close. So, you've got Pacino who abandons everyone he loves and Deniro who does the same. It's wonderful because in seeing the struggles of both men we can all relate and sympathize. This is perhaps one of the very few films in it's genre where I was genuinely sad when the bad guy got killed.
Then you've got all of these awesome side stories and supporting characters who are going through struggles of their own to stay sane. Val Kilmer is a gambling addict who is abandoning his family. In the end, we feel sorry for Kilmer but believe that he doesn't deserve his wife or his kids.
There is even a story of possible redemption in the black getaway driver just out of prison. He is faced with a decision. Stay clean and keep working for his dictator boss, or get back in the action and give in to the only thing he can understand being good at and the only people who accept and respect him.
Not to mention the great moments..
- Pacino explaining how the armored car robbery went down..
- The tense moments in the cafe before they try and murder the fuckup..
- The phone conversation with the banker and Deniro where he tells him "I'm talking to a dead man on the other end of this fucking phone."
- Pacino and Judd's scene in the motel room..
- The look that Judd gives Kilmer when she tips him off..
- Pacino finding his daughter in law in the tub..
- Deniro leaving his girlfriend in the car when he felt the Heat around the corner..
God, there are a ton of great scenes. It's just an all around wonderful film and Mann's best. The Insider is great, but I think Heat is his opus and always will be.