it would be nice to see it given the Criterion treatment and they could throw in L.A. Takedown on one of the discs.
For those interested, Nicheflix offers a R2 version of L.A. Takedown
. I watched it this week as prep for the SE, and it's a fascinating companion piece. It plays like a run-through for Heat
, encompassing ~60% of the later film. It has some different scenes and different dialogue, but the most interesting aspect for me was the preponderance of similar scenes with the same (or slightly altered) dialogue as in Heat
. The diner scene, for example, is mesmerizing to watch, if only to remind you of how much more depth and character DeNiro and Pacino invest in the same lines. Alex McArthur (as McLaren) mostly purses his lips and stares, and Scott Plank (as Vincent) looks like Ben Affleck with less acting chops (Pacino even improves his shouting); the Tom Sizemore and Val Kilmer characters are mostly sketches here, but Waingro (played by the awesomely named Xander Berkeley) is similarly wild-eyed. The directing and action also plays out like a rehearsal, with Mann using a lot of hand-held camera; watching Heat
after L.A. Takedown
feels like luxuriating in Olivier's Henry V
after sitting through a college production. But I was completely transfixed, and I recommend it to fans of Mann and Heat
, or just to see how a director develops his material over time. It's interesting to speculate how Mann re-thought some of the scenes, changing pace, fleshing out ideas, while also leaving the ones that play nicely (such as the Waingro kiss-off at the diner) alone. The Nick James BFI monograph on Heat
also covers some of the script development between the films.