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Full Cast And Crew

The stories behind and in front of the camera from your favorite films and streaming series of the 60's, 70's, 80's and today. Featuring the Columbo Cinematic Universe, notable guests, and never a commercial.  

Aug 30, 2022

Michael Mann's 'Heat' is many things; intensely beloved Los Angeles crime saga, De Niro-and-Pacino-onscreen-together curiosity, technically brilliant filmmaking accomplishment, both genre-defining and genre-busting, a tour-de-force of casting, atour-de-force of acting, a tour-de-force of directing, writing, editing, production design, and has enduring presence and continued influence.  It's one of my top 3 favorite films and as such I've resisted doing it on the podcast because it contains the multitudes above.

But a recent rewatch allowed me to appreciate some aspects of the film anew, and inspired this episode. I was particularly struck by the women of 'Heat', which is perhaps a surprise to those who subscribe to the "Michael Mann makes guy films women aren't interested in" take.  But the work of Diane Venora, Amy Brenneman, Ashley Judd, and Kim Staunton is worthy of the praise it gets in this episode.  The work each actor put into making their characters fully-formed people with their own often conflicted and conflicting reasons for partnering with a criminal or a driven robbery-homicide detective rises these performances from background to foreground. Their scenes are as alive and filled with energy and emotion as the meticulously filmed and edited heist scenes.

And also, the supporting casting is singled out in this episode; from Jon Voight, to Tom Noonan, Bud Cort, Mykleti Williamson, Dennis Haysbert, Tone Loc, Ted Levine, Hank Azaria, William Fichtner, Ricky Harris, Natalie Portman and beyond, Bonnie Timmerman and Michael Mann outdid themselves in searching for, in waiting for, just the right actors capable of going all the way in with characterizations deeper than usual for supporting players in films.

'Heat' is a film that is so praised, so accepted as a masterpiece of its kind that it actually takes some work to watch it free of all that positive baggage and appreciate it all over again as an actor's movie, as one person quoted in the podcast's a film of deep emotional power and human connection.  In this episode, I surprised myself by plugging into these aspects of 'Heat' and hopefully you will enjoy having your filmic receptors tantalized enough to inspire your own re-watch. Please let me know what you think when you do!