When it comes to smart-action films (which I differentiate from dumb-action like Armageddon or Face-off) my standard of realism is if bystanders get shot in shootouts. By this account Heat is very realistic. It depicts a moral ambiguity, where cops and robbers are on the same side. They have wives and kids, they drink within their “crews”, they are both hellbent on their objectives. Their work is their life, relationships are clearly second. The film is one of the few that can carry its three hours without becoming tedious, it remains absorbing until the end.
1135 quick reviews and impressions of every movie I've watched since 2002.