Heat ★★★★★

A high benchmark in American crime cinema, Michael Mann's Heat was always going to gain notoriety for bringing Pacino and De Niro together on screen for the first time, but that the film does so with this screenplay and this level of filmmaking craft only sweetens the moment more.

On paper, Heat looks like a cops and robbers tale; in reality it's a superlative character piece, fuelled by a brilliant LA atmosphere and anchored to a thematically rich narrative. It plays like a brilliant crime novel on a cinematic canvas, with a plethora of subplots that just add to the storytelling and with a driving, escalating sense of drama that builds to one hell of a climax.

Genre trappings are dotted throughout, and never have they been utilised better, with even the expected shootout becoming a deafening onslaught of chaos and violence the likes of which have rarely been bettered on our screens.

At the heart of it all is De Niro and Pacino, in their element and at the height of their powers. The central scene in the middle of the running time that brings the two of them together feels like a glorious moment when all of cinematic time stops simply to let them do their thing so brilliantly and so memorably. It's a truly magnificent scene in a film filled with them.

A sensational piece of work.

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