After watching the new Heat Blu-ray, we sat down to talk about Michael Mann’s 1995 crime movie classic. 22 years embedding itself into pop culture consciousness. This is Ray chat at his biggest and glossiest, his coolest and his grimmest, his most realistic and his most fantastical. It’s the three-hour action epic of our dreams.
Michael Mann movie, and yes, that rightfully famous shootout. Okay, so I want to get things rolling by talking about the first time you saw this movie. I was a little too young to catch it in theaters, so I first saw it on DVD in the mid-2000s. Even by then, it was clear how many other movies were borrowing from it and stealing from it. More than any other Michael Mann movie, it’s left a huge fingerprint on popular movies.
Did you see it before its larger impact was felt? I saw it for the first time around the same time you did, so it was already considered a modern classic. I do remember at the time I first watched it, maybe only seven or eight years after its release, that the title already carried a lot of weight. I remember just looking at the DVD cover, seeing the title and the names above it, and knowing I had to watch it immediately. Even the cover art just promised a major event. It makes me wonder how many younger people will watch it today and not realize how many cliches it created and how many foundations it established. Christopher Nolan’s debt to Michael Mann?
How many video gamers realize that the bank heist scene is directly responsible for so many shooters? It’s a testament to the film’s power that it’s still so good even though everyone has tried to wring it dry. What Defines a Michael Mann Movie? Before we start narrowing in on the details, I want to talk about what defines Michael Mann as a filmmaker. I don’t think Michael Mann has characters say something he can’t visualize for the audience.
His protagonists are typically very succinct, in their choices and action. He presents what they do and how they do it. He’s always showing, not telling. I think it’s what’s unreal that really defines him. There’s a sense of melodrama to his work that I find hypnotic. There’s a heightened style to their dialogue and a sense of high drama to the character relationships. Douglas Sirk with machine guns.