Director: Michael Mann
Year Released: 1981
Whenever this picture is gliding on Mann's cinematic grace, it works (like in the too-few sequences involving safe robbing or shootouts), but when it comes time to instill the picture with feeling or humanity, it is unfailingly clumsy. The scenes of Caan talking about his dreams or showing off his high school girl-esque photo collage are intended to be meaningful and grant the picture some dramatic weight, but because of Caan's constant mugging and Joey Baggadonuts rambling - the dialogue only comes alive when it has anything to do with crime terminology, in which it is well-researched (or comes across as being well-researched) - it strains for impact. The scene in the adoption agency is supposed to show Caan and wife's frustration (and garner sympathy) at not having children - and the weak Willie Nelson 'subplot' intends to do the same - but the actors are left with some unconvincing material, and it shows. Mann's post-1990's work does a better job at successfully uniting the technical and personal aspects - 1995's Heat was a brilliant exercise in tense storytelling.