Dual protagonists in Michael Mann’s “Heat”

It is very rare to watch a film where there are two protagonists, never mind a film where both are written to be so complex. They share little screen time together in the same scene, but that only adds to the drama and conflict as we wait for the two to come together.

The two main characters are so well-written that it’s hard to know who to root for. In the end, for me, it actually came down to Robert De Niro’s character (McCauley), because quite frankly Al Pacino’s character (Hanna) comes across as quite brash at times. Hanna seems to have everything that De Niro wants – a stable relationship and a family, but Hanna seems to push these things away because of ‘the job’.

Both of their stories are complex and well-rounded, so we’re happy watching either side of the story at any given time, and by the time the two of them meet in the much talked about café scene, we know that sparks are going to fly. Both highly intelligent, driven men who will do whatever it takes to achieve their goal.

For two main characters to be able to take centre stage whenever they’re on screen, without leaving you pining for seeing more of the other, takes a great writer (the fact that both characters are played by such talent as Pacino and De Niro notwithstanding).

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