Michael Mann’s one of those filmmakers whose greatest films inspire fierce debate. An argument can and has been made that nearly all of his movies (except for The Keep, maybe) is his masterpiece, whether its prestige period pieces like Last Of The Mohicans and Public Enemies or the gnarly digital pulp of Blackhat and Collateral. Nearly everyone agrees, though, that Heat is up there, an operatic meditation on cops and robbers that still manages to function as an all-time great action flick.

Chief among that movie’s fans is director Christopher Nolan, who cited it repeatedly as an inspiration for his own (arguable) masterwork, The Dark Knight. A new video essay explores just how much Nolan was able to match the tonal, topical, and even kinetic feel of that movie. (Collateral and The Insider are also featured, though to a much lesser extent.)

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The Dark Knight: Visual Echoes from Glass Distortion on Vimeo.

There’s a lot here! The comparisons are many: a bank heist conducted in garish masks; a climactic tête-à-tête; moments of midnight-blue melancholy. The video essayists at Glass Distortion append the video with this quote from Nolan:

I always felt Heat to be a remarkable demonstration of how you can create a vast universe within one city and balance a very large number of characters and their emotional journeys in an effective manner.

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It remains unclear, however, just which cinematic influence is to blame for that nuclear bomb thing in The Dark Knight Returns. Bay?