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Face-Off: Heat vs. The Departed

Sep. 20, 2012by: Paul Huffman
In last weeks Face Off, we pit two monster movies that have spawned sequel after sequel in the original Underworld vs. Resident Evil. Underworld ultimately scored the victory, guess the appeal of the films visual style and Beckinsale in leather just couldn't be ignored.

This week, for the release of the newest cop thriller End of Watch, we've chosen to throw together two of what we feel are the best of the best among law enforcement film. Heat served as the classic of the 90's with Michael Mann's distinct style and the uniting of two of the best actors of any generation in Pacino and De Niro. Its opponent, acting as the classic for a new decade is Martin Scorsese's The Departed, which sported a stellar cast and a balls to the wall ending. Which classic do you fancy more? Let's discuss.
Story
A retelling of a made for TV film L.A. Takedown, also directed by Mann. We get a classic good guy (cop) trying to take the bad guy and his crew of fellow baddies (robbers). For all the progress our hero makes, it seems like our antagonist is always one step ahead. The formula for a successful telling of a tale like this was all there, what propelled this story to greatness is the dynamic between the heroes and the villains that we were given, which I'll get to in a moment.
The script for the Departed (which was based on 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs) had a lot more going on. Organized crime boss Frank Costello takes a young boy under his wing and brings him up/trains him to become a mole within the Massachusetts State Police. On the other end of the spectrum, the staties bring in a rogue to attempt to flush the mole out. Betrayal, thickened plots, and mayhem ensue. Throw in a love interest that are banging both cops and you have a winner.
Cast/Characters
Pacino gave us a remarkable performance here and had so many memorable lines, and his talent was complimented by a three dimensional character. Here is a hero with flaws and I ate it up, very relatable. Robert De Niro showed up and was Robert De Niro and gave us a villain we couldn't help but respect, an opinion the cop that was chasing him ended up sharing after just one meeting with him. The supporting cast brought their A game and it seemed every single one of them were given enough time to make us care about them. Much appreciated.
The man who stole the show in my eyes was Jack Nicholson, his Frank Costello was so unhinged and genuinely insane but you hate yourself for liking him anyway. Leonardo DiCaprio was out of control and he really sold the desperation of his character. Matt Damon did a pretty good job with what he was given, he really shined in the films closing minutes. Mark Wahlberg stole every scene he was in, as did Alec Baldwin. A stellar cast in Heat, matched with another stellar cast that didn't slouch with their equally as enthralling roles.
Direction
Michael Mann has that distinct style when it comes to his direction. Insane action sequences, his dark somber tone especially in the case of this film. The man knows how to make an action film, probably better than anyone. When it's been said that a director like Chris Nolan pulled inspiration from your film to make The Dark Knight what it was, you know you did something right.
Scorsese is a legend for a reason, he brings certain trademarks of his into every film he does...while at the same time offering up a different feel, a different tone every single time. The soundtrack for this puppy was in your face, he shot the film in a way that made for wonderful suspense. The way he chose to shoot the scene that revealed the roles certain characters had to each other was brilliant. Scorsese is Scorsese, bottom line, need I say more?
Overall
Heat is a classic in the eyes of many for so many different reasons. The action, the suspense, not a single actor/character is wasted, and it brought together two actors that the public was dying to see interact since The Godfather Part II. Mann cemented himself as an action director to be reckoned with, and the story that complimented it so well made this film something that all films of the same elk should aspire to emulate. It has earned every critical accolade its received, and is loved by fans almost more so. And that my friends, is not always the way. Bravo for all involved for making a crime classic that will forever be timeless.
The Departed is not my favorite Scorsese film, but it is still an undeniable classic. All the elements that he has become known for bringing together so masterfully were present and accounted for in this film. Departed was everything a "mole thriller" should be, memorable characters, memorable lines, you never knew exactly what was going to happen...I was served with several WTF moments throughout its run time. The strong point of this film were the performances, without it I don't think the film would have worked as well as it did. As I stated earlier, there are a couple "cop thrillers" that could be deemed a classic in the 2000's, and The Departed earned that honor.
Heat
So there it is folks, The Departed is definitely a classic in its own right...but in my eyes Heat has yet to be dethroned. It's a film of style, substance, and I have to admit I'm biased for the famous diner scene between Michael Corleone and Papa Vito Corleone we were served with. Where do you stand in all this? Let us know!

If you have an idea that you'd like to see in a future FACE OFF column, feel free to shoot an email to me at paulhuffman@joblo.com with your ideas and some ideas for the critique to base your ideas off. Thank you and in the meantime...

Which genre film is your favourite?
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11:59PM on 09/22/2012

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+2
11:32AM on 09/21/2012

Heat

but even though Heat is in my top 20 movies of all-time, it's still a close call. Both are incredibly entertaining, amazingly acted and perfectly directed movies. In my opinion one doesn't get enough praise and the other gets too much of a bad reputation. So what if Deprated might not be Scoresese's best movie? I think it and Scorsese deserved an Oscar that year, regardless of what happened in the past
but even though Heat is in my top 20 movies of all-time, it's still a close call. Both are incredibly entertaining, amazingly acted and perfectly directed movies. In my opinion one doesn't get enough praise and the other gets too much of a bad reputation. So what if Deprated might not be Scoresese's best movie? I think it and Scorsese deserved an Oscar that year, regardless of what happened in the past
Your Reply:



11:23AM on 09/21/2012
Paul, I'd like to see THE TOWN VS HEAT Face-Off sometime, please
Paul, I'd like to see THE TOWN VS HEAT Face-Off sometime, please
Your Reply:



9:38AM on 09/21/2012
Like someone else on here said, THE TOWN vs HEAT would have been a better Face-Off. But if I had to choose, I would say HEAT. I don't know that it's the better film, but it's one of my favorites, so I'm biased.
Like someone else on here said, THE TOWN vs HEAT would have been a better Face-Off. But if I had to choose, I would say HEAT. I don't know that it's the better film, but it's one of my favorites, so I'm biased.
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11:21AM on 09/21/2012
Thanks for agreeing with me
Thanks for agreeing with me
5:25AM on 09/21/2012
A face-off where I actually agree. Rare.
A face-off where I actually agree. Rare.
Your Reply:



6:50PM on 09/20/2012

HEAT without a doubt....

Heat is one of my all time favorite films. From the scene in the diner (Classic!) to the bank heist shoot out (Again...Classic!) I loved every second of it. Easily Michael Mann's best film. Every character has such depth, every scene grabs you, it's easy to actually get lost in the film while watching it. At near 3 hours long, it goes by in a blur, and I've watched it started it over and watched it again. The Departed, while awesome as well, didn't blow me away. Not to bad talk it, but I've
Heat is one of my all time favorite films. From the scene in the diner (Classic!) to the bank heist shoot out (Again...Classic!) I loved every second of it. Easily Michael Mann's best film. Every character has such depth, every scene grabs you, it's easy to actually get lost in the film while watching it. At near 3 hours long, it goes by in a blur, and I've watched it started it over and watched it again. The Departed, while awesome as well, didn't blow me away. Not to bad talk it, but I've only seen it once and I although I'd watch it again, I never really have an urge to. If I were gonna put The Departed against another film I would pit it against THE TOWN instead.
Your Reply:



-13
5:48PM on 09/20/2012

HEAT

Anything containing Matt Damon is incapable of being a classic.
Anything containing Matt Damon is incapable of being a classic.
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4:44PM on 09/20/2012

THE DEPARTED

I'm gonna have to give it to THE DEPARTED. I do like HEAT a lot but the performances aren't as strong as they are in THE DEPARTED (Al Pacino sucks in HEAT) and THE DEPARTED definitely has a better plot. And I disagree about direction, I think Scorsese out-directed Mann by a mile.
I'm gonna have to give it to THE DEPARTED. I do like HEAT a lot but the performances aren't as strong as they are in THE DEPARTED (Al Pacino sucks in HEAT) and THE DEPARTED definitely has a better plot. And I disagree about direction, I think Scorsese out-directed Mann by a mile.
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+7
2:56PM on 09/20/2012

HEAT

all the way, the departed i watched one time and thought it was a good movie but never had the need to watch it again, heat on the other side i must have watched about 20 times and still is one of my favorites.
all the way, the departed i watched one time and thought it was a good movie but never had the need to watch it again, heat on the other side i must have watched about 20 times and still is one of my favorites.
Your Reply:



1:40PM on 09/20/2012
Agreed. Heat is one of my favorite films of all time. Departed is a classic as well but I like Heat a little better.
Agreed. Heat is one of my favorite films of all time. Departed is a classic as well but I like Heat a little better.
Your Reply:



-5
12:43PM on 09/20/2012

Departed.

love Heat but of the two, definitely The Departed.
love Heat but of the two, definitely The Departed.
Your Reply:



12:41PM on 09/20/2012

Not a fan of either

Both were cops n' robbers fantasy movies with boilerplate storytelling and twists you see coming a mile away. Have to give it to Heat though, it has that sick robbery scene.
Both were cops n' robbers fantasy movies with boilerplate storytelling and twists you see coming a mile away. Have to give it to Heat though, it has that sick robbery scene.
Your Reply:



12:29PM on 09/20/2012
Agreed. But I do think The Departed is a better directed film.
Agreed. But I do think The Departed is a better directed film.
Your Reply:



12:28PM on 09/20/2012

Good Call!

Definitely Heat!!!!!
Definitely Heat!!!!!
Your Reply:



+12
12:24PM on 09/20/2012

Heat

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.
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.
Your Reply:



12:01PM on 09/20/2012

Heat

both great films but Heat edges it out. Scorsese's also done better, IMO.
both great films but Heat edges it out. Scorsese's also done better, IMO.
Your Reply:



11:57AM on 09/20/2012

HEAT

i will prefer Heat.even though Heat isnt as racy as The Departed,i like Heat more.its very well crafted,acted,structured.its Al Pacino's Supremacy
i will prefer Heat.even though Heat isnt as racy as The Departed,i like Heat more.its very well crafted,acted,structured.its Al Pacino's Supremacy
Your Reply:



11:36AM on 09/20/2012

Really?

You give Mann the check mark over Marty? Marty finally won his Oscar fro directing the Departed, didn't he?
Both are great movies, I may like Heat a little bit more, as being from Boston, the Departed hits a little close to home. But you just can't give Mann the check mark over Scorsese. The guy won the Oscar for this.
You give Mann the check mark over Marty? Marty finally won his Oscar fro directing the Departed, didn't he?
Both are great movies, I may like Heat a little bit more, as being from Boston, the Departed hits a little close to home. But you just can't give Mann the check mark over Scorsese. The guy won the Oscar for this.
Your Reply:



11:33AM on 09/20/2012
Heat for me. It's practically the best crime / cat-and-mouse movie I've ever seen. Especially the climatic face off between DeNiro and Pacino. It was intense and a heck of a way to end the movie.
Heat for me. It's practically the best crime / cat-and-mouse movie I've ever seen. Especially the climatic face off between DeNiro and Pacino. It was intense and a heck of a way to end the movie.
Your Reply:



-14
11:28AM on 09/20/2012

Respectful disagreement

I'll give you Direction, but all those other categories shout have been in the Departed's favor. Let's also not forget The Departed also had one of the greatest endings ever.
I'll give you Direction, but all those other categories shout have been in the Departed's favor. Let's also not forget The Departed also had one of the greatest endings ever.
Your Reply:



11:17AM on 09/20/2012
For me, Heat is definitely the winner.
For me, Heat is definitely the winner.
Your Reply:



10:56AM on 09/20/2012
While both are excellent films, I can't help but think of "Infernal Affairs" every time I think of "The Departed." There were nuances in the Hong Kong movie that seemed to escape the American film. The love triangle rubbed me wrong, too. Couple that with "Heat" being sort of the ultimate cat-and-mouse cops and robbers movie. Sure a couple of the sub-plots could have stood to be excised (Wayne Groh turning into a serial killer, and even Dennis Haysbert's character, were somewhat extraneous). But
While both are excellent films, I can't help but think of "Infernal Affairs" every time I think of "The Departed." There were nuances in the Hong Kong movie that seemed to escape the American film. The love triangle rubbed me wrong, too. Couple that with "Heat" being sort of the ultimate cat-and-mouse cops and robbers movie. Sure a couple of the sub-plots could have stood to be excised (Wayne Groh turning into a serial killer, and even Dennis Haysbert's character, were somewhat extraneous). But people don't look at heat and wish for "L.A. Takedown" too much.
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10:55AM on 09/20/2012
The Town Vs HEAT would have been more appropriate match up. Regardless, HEAT was the better choice - even though I love the Departed also.

L.A. Takedown is still amazing too.
The Town Vs HEAT would have been more appropriate match up. Regardless, HEAT was the better choice - even though I love the Departed also.

L.A. Takedown is still amazing too.
Your Reply:



10:44AM on 09/20/2012
This is a tough choice! I cannot make one. Great comparisons from each film.
This is a tough choice! I cannot make one. Great comparisons from each film.
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