Michael Mann knows a thing or two about an intense crime thriller, having directed a string of them throughout his career, although for the most part they tend to have each put a different spin on the standard cops and criminals setup that’s seen the genre become almost ubiquitous.
Thief, Manhunter, Collateral, Miami Vice, Public Enemies and Blackhat are all distinctly different films, but they all focus on law enforcement officers or agents tasked with trying to stop either a thief, terrorist or murderer from continuing down a nefarious path, sometimes all three.
However, Mann arguably perfected his signature visual and narrative style in Heat, which was largely marketed on the back of seeing Al Pacino and Robert De Niro sharing the screen for the first time, but ended up gaining a well-deserved reputation as one of the all-time great crime stories, one that inspired everything from the Grand Theft Auto video game series to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.
The pitch is simple; De Niro is a master criminal, Pacino is a veteran cop, and only one of them is walking out of the situation as either a free or alive man. The two Hollywood titans play off each other brilliantly as their characters form a mutual respect, and it’s punctuated by some expertly-staged shock-and-awe action sequences. Netflix subscribers have clearly been checking out Heat in their droves, as it’s currently the twelfth most-watched title on the platform, as per FlixPatrol.