I can imagine that some of the cool scenes that happened in The Big Heat were well ahead of their time. One scene in particular was a car explosion created with strong sound, camera rumblings, and a bright flash of light outside of a window. Seems simple and subtle, but its impact was jarring at that point in the movie.
The film missed a few steps, wasn’t perfect by any means. In fact, one can argue that there was one glaring plothole throughout just staring at you the entire time. I didn’t realize it until there was about half an hour left, but it made me stop and say, “Wait…what? But why didn’t they just…ok. Whatevs.” Call me old, but I’m learning to let things go. Good doesn’t mean perfect. The Big Heat falls well of perfection but it gets the job done.
There is a lot to digest throughout the film so make sure to keep up. This isn’t a film you watch while browsing Google or folding clothes. I had to rely on protagonist Dave Bannion (Glenn Ford) to keep me on track. His screen time has a way of captivating you as you quickly come to love this character. In a town full of “yellow-bellied ninnies”, Bannion wasn’t afraid to stand up to the mob and what he knew to be true. Dude was so tough he gave others the courage to stand up as well. Props.
The film did lose me in spots and lost a few points as a result. At its core, though, is a movie that ultimately gets it right. In Bannion’s efforts to get to the bottom of a cop committing suicide, the audience is taken on a thrilling journey that I hope to revisit at some point down the road. I give The Big Heat an 81.