The Dark Knight is regarded as one of the defining films of the 2000s; a revered crime thriller that has moulded blockbuster filmmaking since 2008. But it would not exist without Michael Mann’s Heat, the greatest film of the 1990s, which celebrates its 25th anniversary.
With a bold, authentic eye for urban detail, Heat is a near-three-hour crime epic set in LA that concerns the cat and mouse hunt between Al Pacino’s LAPD Lieutenant Vincent Hannah and Robert De Niro’s impeccably dressed professional thief, Neil McCauley. With a vast ensemble including a terrific Val Kilmer and a young Natalie Portman, the script finds time to give every character a story and relationship which gives the city the populated feel that Chris Nolan utilised so well for The Dark Knight.
Marketed as the film that finally brought the two greatest actors of their generation together onscreen, Heat procured spectacularly underrated performances from its two leads as well as providing two of cinema’s greatest scenes: the diner scene conversation between Pacino and De Niro, and the street shootout, which is still the most immersive and intensely realistic action scene committed to screen (the sound design!). Those scenes are a phenomenal legacy to have but throw in Nolan’s translation of Heat’s urban grit, dense screenplay and rugged action to the blockbuster film and the immortality of Mann’s film becomes more apparent. 25 years old and it hasn’t aged a day.
Check out the trailer for Heat below: