Heat v The Devil’s Advocate
HOO-HAH! Which do you prefer, Pacino shouting at De Niro or Pacino shouting as Satan? Read the arguments and decide. Have your ear plugs at the ready…
Ross McG: Heat
Brother, you are going down…
This is a tough one. I really don’t know where to begin. I didn’t instigate this battle. It puzzles me. Heat and The Devil’s Advocate have two things in common. One: they both star Al Pacino. Two: they are both films. Apart from that, they don’t really deserve to share the same sentence. Or rather, The Devil’s Advocate doesn’t merit mentioning in the same breath as Heat. So I’m not sure how to approach it. I feel like I’ve been asked to step on a dying bug – it’s so easy to do I’m not sure I can get any satisfaction from it. But, as a wise dojo master once said: mercy is for the weak. So here goes…
The Devil’s Advocate sucks balls. Heat doesn’t.
Ross McD: The Devil’s Advocate
Don’t get too cocky my boy
It was back in the days of buying the latest cinema releases on pirate VHS from the back of vans that I first purchased a copy of Heat , for £5. It sat on a shelf beside my video recorder for weeks and weeks afterward, I just couldn’t find the motivation to actually sit down and watch it, despite the hype. When I finally did out of sheer boredom one night, I realised my instincts were spot on: it was decidedly meh. I felt no richer or poorer for the experience. It was just like thumbing though a copy of its magazine namesake spin-off.
Ask anyone what they remember Heat for (besides the decent post heist LA gun battle) and they’ll say it was the first film to feature Al Pacino and a bottle of Heinz ketchup on screen together. I’m sorry, but all I can remember about this ‘monumental’ scene was the shocking product placement of tomato goo plonked in the middle of them. This may have something to do with the fact that I F*CKING HATE KETCHUP, or because this conversation between Robert De Niro and Al Pacino that film fans had waited centuries to happen simply bored the tits off me.
You see, IMHO, it happened too late in both their careers. While each staking a claim as the greatest screen actor of all time in producing such early stellar works as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Godfather and Scarface, Pacino and De Niro gained, nay earned the right to appear in whatever the f*ck they liked in later life (see Analyse That, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Gigli, 88 Minutes – or rather, don’t see). They even tried to recreate that ‘go see this movie ‘cause us two are in it effect’ in Righteous Kill – and that production righteously should have been killed. By the time the boys got to make Heat, they were already running on autopilot.
But that doesn’t mean watching Al Pacino sit back and have a little fun in his work isn’t entertaining. As an everyday cop, he gags on the scenery he tries to chew. But as Satan, he chews it, blows bubbles with it, sticks it on the bedpost and comes back later to chew it some more. His overacting is perfect for the role of Lucifer, and he bends the rest of the film around him like a snug cloak. Keanu is perfect as the lawyer with one gear: win. We all know one-dimensional is what Keanu does best, and he doesn’t disappoint here. The film is pretty much made up of Pacino speeches (like many Pacino films) but his commentaries on religion and the nature of humanity are actually worth listening to – best of all is his summary on God (see below). While the film is great fun, it does pose some unnerving questions of a legal system that handsomely rewards lawyers capable of exonerating criminals whom everyone, including themselves, knows are guilty of heinous crimes.
All Heat teaches us is how not to play Q-Zar: that shoot out at the airport at the end? Come on! If you’ve got multiple lives and the bullets are harmless laser tags, maybe you run around after each other through the middle of the maze of blocks. When your playing with real guns, you stay put on one of the flanks and wait til the other guy walks into your line of fire. End of story.