Reviewed on 2009 February 22
Wonderful Michael Mann film that pits a pit bull of a detective against an equally stubborn thief and has an ending that I didn’t guess before it played out.
Lt. Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) loves his wife (I think he mentioned it was his third marriage) and stepdaughter, but really lives for one thing: to put criminals behind bars. When a vicious big-time thief (Robert DeNiro) leaves a trail of bodies in his wake, Hanna has a new mission. He is going to get the guy if it takes him to the end of his life. The problem is this criminal is as smart and elusive as Hanna is determined. Good as Hanna is, it takes him a long time to even pin a name on the guy. And he’s not going to quit his life any more than Hanna is going to retire.
The tagline for this movie is “A Los Angeles Crime Saga”, and if the characters were any more developed and the plot had more hairpin turns it would almost be a full-blown crime opera, minus the singing. When DeNiro’s character says he’s not going back to jail, we believe it. This runs on Michael Mann time, which means it takes as long to get there as it takes to get there. It’s 171 minutes, and I’d recommend both carving out enough time to watch it in one sitting, and renting it. You know that if you watch it on cable, the phone will ring or the dog will need to go out, and for an action film it’s got a lot of good dialog. If you liked The Insider and haven’t seen this before, you’ll probably be happy with taking a leap of faith and buying the DVD. I was.
Three chocolate morsels, and something that takes a while to drink so you can brood over it.