Character driven masterpiece
I don't know I missed seeing this terrific film when it first came out, but somehow I did. It's a brilliantly written, beautifully acted, deeply involving cops and robbers story, starring Al Pacino as police Lt. Vincent Hanna, a loud-mouthed sleuth with an ex-wife (and a not-happy current spouse) who always gets his man, and Robert De Niro as Neil McCauley, extremely skilled professional heist man. Both are rather thoughtful and analytical and there's a great scene where they sit down in a coffee shop and wax philosophical about their antagonistic relationship. The scene in which the good guys are surveiling the bad guys, only to discover that they are being examined through binoculars in turn, is also first rate. Val Kilmer plays a thoroughly scary shooter -- who, quite unexpectedly, appears to escape in the end. There are numerous interpersonal relationships, between Kilmer and his long-suffering wife (Ashley Judd) who warns him away, between Hanna and his wife and his messed-up stepdaughter (Natalie Portman), and between McCauley and a completely innocent bystander whom he comes to care for but whom he is also willing to leave behind on thirty seconds notice. All the numerous supporting roles are also very nicely done.
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