Personally, I thought that Heat (Michael Mann) could have been a better film just by rearranging some stuff. They build up how hard these guys are working to pull off a great heist and how much it means to their personal lives and so the big moment of the film is when it all falls apart.
Except the strongest scene in that vein is when Val Kilmer has to leave his wife, and that’s like 30 minutes before the end of the movie and, between that point and the actual end there’s a whole sequence where De Niro is tracking down the one trouble-maker and successfully rubbing him out, so the movie ends with a victory just before what should be the big ending, and the final downer point doesn’t come across as well as Val Kilmer’s scene from 30 minutes earlier. You want a film with a downer ending to be, really, in sort of an overall arc shape where everything gets better, better, better, peaks, and then goes down, down, down, tragedy. Rearranging it to be better, better, peaks, down, tragedy, better, down…just sort of doesn’t work emotionally.
Removing the scene where they get the trouble-maker would have helped quite a lot, since it at least removes the small win in there at the end.
It probably would take more to make the film fully work; for example having De Niro work to protect and save his crew, failing at each step, rather than running off on his own and doing whatever. As is, we’re never shown him doing anything terribly decent or worthy of caring about, except being very professional at his job, and that’s not enough to make his end matter as much as the ends that come to his crew. Yet, it’s presented as the ultimate tragedy. Minus redemption: No tragedy. He needed something to redeem himself, and taking out a rapist killer wasn’t that. He didn’t do it because the guy was bad, he did it because the guy mucked their job up. That is still just him being a professional, not a man redeemed.
Ah well. The movie starts great, but you may as well turn it off after Kilmer drives off, 30 minutes from the end.