Can you believe this classic is 20 years old this year? It is still fresh and punchy as the day it was released. Two screen legends, Al Pacino and
Robert De Niro playing opposite one another. De Niro plays Neil, the charismatic sophisticated criminal master mind with a penchant for robbing banks. Pacino on the other hand plays Vincent, a veteran in the police force whose job is to take down bad guys like Neil.
Interestingly this is the first time these pair have shared screen time together. They have appeared in the same movie before (Godfather Part 2) but never had a scene together.
Michael Mann both writes and directs this masterpiece as he plays the dance of giving these two great actors enough individual screen time to lay down their characters so when they do finally meet half way through in a diner, the tension is electric.
At this point in the movie the characters morals are very well established, with an ironic twist of sensibility from each other.
Vincent: You know, we are sitting here, you and I, like a couple of regular fellas. You do what you do, and I do what I gotta do. And now that we’ve been face to face, if I’m there and I gotta put you away, I won’t like it. But I tell you, if it’s between you and some poor bastard whose wife you’re gonna turn into a widow, brother, you are going down.
Neil: There is a flip side to that coin. What if you do got me boxed in and I gotta put you down? Cause no matter what, you will not get in my way. We’ve been face to face, yeah. But I will not hesitate. Not for a second.
Naturally there is enough opportunity for Pacino to do his classic shouting routine, which for me personally, never really gets old. Though let us be honest, nothing like his whole end-of-movie routine 3 years prior in
Scent of a Woman (HOO HAA).
If this isn’t enough, Mann manages to squeeze in
Jon Voight and
Tom Sizemore who adds weight to Neil’s crew. Keep an eye out for a very young
Natalie Portman who pops up in one of her first movie roles as Vincent’s step daughter. There is a number of other, now, famous actors that pop up as you forget after 20 years just the sort of names that were attached to this outing.
The movie works very well on all levels. Had it been a weaker story, then the two actors would have felt over bearing. Likewise, I can’t imagine any other two leading males playing off one another with the same intensity. The planets aligned for this one.
If you haven’t seen it, then what are you waiting for? If you have, then put it on again and remind yourself just what can happen when great actors do a great story.
Monday, 7th September 2015