Jimmy Cagney’s got mommy issues and his criminal empire is being rooted out by a rat before it can reach the “top of the world.”
I’m going a bit literal here, if that’s ok. The heat is the police (thanks, Michael Mann) and it’s white. As in Caucasian.
The Random Remake
Hank Fallon (Tom Hiddleston) is a former Marine who, at the behest of his wife and family to get out of harm’s way, works as a bureaucrat in the Department of Justice overseeing federal corrections policy. When he gets wind of a trafficking ring he volunteers to go undercover to bust it. He’s sent to a vaguely Southern federal institution to root out the offending guards. He’s told of the prisoners inside and their resumes but he doesn’t care – he’s only doing his job for the DOJ. But when working in the print shop he saves a fellow inmate, Cody Jarrett (Jamie Foxx), from an attack on his life, Marine fighting skills-style. Jarrett was distracted by a blinding migraine, but Fallon saw the whole thing transpiring. Jarrett, one of the prison’s big shots is impressed (not only for the save but also because Fallon doesn’t really seem to know or care who he is) and grants Fallon (under the prison pseudonym Vic Pardo) some black-market privileges that lead him to bust the offending guards.
Just as Fallon is about to leave the prison after his investigation is finished, Jarrett has a proposition for him: How’d he like to join his unit on the outside – after they break out of prison tomorrow! Fallon is wracked with angst; does he go home to his family or stop the breakout? Neither! He’s told by his superiors to go along with Jarrett. The DEA has been trying to infiltrate Jarrett for years with no success, and now here’s their chance.
Some inside the circle are suspicious of “Pardo,” especially Jarrett’s right-hand man (Isaiah Mustafa), who later thinks the prison break was a little too easy. But during a visit to hash out the plans in code, Jarrett’s mother (Octavia Spencer) tells him to trust his gut.
Turns out Ma is the brains behind the operation, and they have been running a smuggling operation outside of a logistics corporation full of truckers that Ma is friendly with. Ma repeatedly grinds on Jarrett that they have the chance to be the American equivalent of a Mexican cartel and has the skills and ability to lead it all. She treats him to his favorite drink with the family motto/salutation, “Top of the World.”
Fallon gets deep into the operation, getting some intel, screwing up some big jobs to avoid committing serious crimes. Jarrett’s men suspect him of treachery; Jarrett won’t have any of it. Soon, Fallon gets word to the DEA of a big shipment to the warehouse but when he does he’s found out. Big action/chase sequence in the warehouse and Fallon runs after Jarrett, who has climbed to the top of warehouse. “We’re sitting on the single biggest pile of uncut ever assemble on U.S. soil, you know that copper?” Jarrett says, rubbing his temples due to the sudden onset of a migraine. “This it, top of the world for me.” He reaches for his gun but his vision is hazy and he’s dizzy. Fallon rushes at him but Jarrett stumbles and fatally falls off the warehouse.
White Heat: It’s a lonely place at the top of the world
Next up: The Philadelphia Story (1940)