Michael Mann’s epic, high-wire crime drama solidified the filmmaker’s mastery, and marked the first time acting virtuosos Robert De Niro and Al Pacino appeared together onscreen. De Niro plays a career criminal and Pacino is the LAPD lieutenant hot on his trail after a bank heist goes haywire. As much a story about L.A. as its protagonists on opposite sides of the law, Heat is carefully mapped out across a 170-minute running time. De Niro’s scenes are masterfully controlled next to Pacino’s moments of white-hot anger, but their face-to-face encounter at a restaurant is the film’s centerpiece, and an acting master class in nuance and economy.
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