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Manhunter 1986 Michael Mann Review

Directed by Michael Mann

A stylish thriller , that reminds me why I love movies!

Ok, after robotGEEK did his review  just recently, I finally sat down and watched it again, after a looong time….must´ve been a few years, but I remember liking it. Now I have seen it again. And it was just what I needed on that night, a really cool, stylish crime thriller.

I like Petersen and remember  Tom Noonan at least from Robocop 2.

Brian Cox was pretty good as Lecktor, but he really isn`t the focus in this film.

It is one of those films that got recognized only with time and thanks to Silence of the Lambs and the following movies about Hannibal Lecter, or Lecktor..what is it?

It was supposed to be called RED DRAGON, like the book, but the producer opted for Manhunter, cuz at that time, too much dragon stuff was coming out, like Bruce Lee movies and the film with Rourke , YEAR OF THE DRAGON.  Mann didn`t like that title, but I think it`s not that bad, cuz this film is all about a manhunt.

It starts rather chliched, with Will Graham(Petersen) being retired from his work as a profiler, but returning to it once more to help catch a killer , known as the “Tooth Fairy”.

He is still a bit messed up from the confrontation with Hannibal Lecktor, but agrees to help, promising his wife he only will look at the evidence and not risk to be physically harmed.

Which, of course, is hard to uphold, as he delves deeper and deeper into the case.

Ok, no more plot, at least not a complete rundown.

I really liked Petersen, and Noonan, who made for a creepy killer, not without human traits, especially when he reacts so terribly jealous at one point. You almost pity him, well, I did..for a moment, really great scene. The visuals are great, the cinematography is just top notch and reminds you of Miami Vice a bit. There is so much great stuff to look at here. When Petersen ran out of the ward or prison, out of this huge, white building , all the way outside, that just fit the situation so perfectly. This isn`t an action film, it’s a gritty, brooding crime thriller, with good old forensics and detective work and characters, who have depth to them.

I initially mistook  the score as something by Tangerine Dream, but it wasn`t, not really. But Klaus Schulze was a member of that band for a short time.  Something of his is played in the screen credits. And for whoever made the Tangerine Dream sounding stuff-it really sounds just like them. I must not forget Dennis Farina, always welcome. He looked a bit very pale and sick I thought. There are a few different cuts of this film, there are several called the theatrical cut and the Dc also has two version, which differ only by one small snippet.

I liked the theatrical I saw, but I can understand when you`re interested in the DC  as well, there is a 2 disc version out there, which contains both versions. I also read that one release has the DC in better quality, but I don`t know right now on what page I read that. If interested , just surf a little around ..I´m sure you`ll find something that leads you to the right release.

All in all, a great crime thriller that won it´s appreciation with time, as many other do, ending up being called a cult classic or something. To me, it surely is the most interesting one from the films featuring Hannibal. Yes, I like this better than SOTL.

Compared to this, all those others feel so mainstream.  I don`t own any of those, and don`t plan to. But of Manhunter, I´d like all versions on my shelf. Or at least that 2-disc edition.

And the german VHS  tape from VCL, which has a nice cover with embossed lettering.

If you haven`t yet, check out Manhunter-I´m sure it`s worth your time.

Here a comparison for the theatrical to DC:


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One response

  1. Yeah, love the score for this. Michael Rubini I think, complimented by some other 80s bands like Red 7. I know what you mean about them sounding like Tangerine Dream.

    I also prefer this to Silence of the Lambs. Brian Cox and Tom Noonan were so creepy.

    Love that poster but I’m not sure they’ve quite got the right proportions for Petersen. His head looks kind of weird.

    August 11, 2012 at 1:36 PM

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