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Manhunter Reviews

Page 1 of 108
Cory T

Super Reviewer

October 18, 2013
Granted the ensemble, award-winning cast of 'Red Dragon' squarely surpasses the B-list actors of this film and the neon-green font credits insinuate a hip vibe (although the blue filters would certainly substantiate that misconception), but 'Manhunter' is a supremely haunting adaptation of Thomas Harris first Hannibal Lecter novel. The discrepancies between 'Manhunter' and 'Red Dragon' are paramount at the beginning with the recruitment interaction between Crawford and Graham on the beach. In 'Red Dragon', the heinous crimes and retirement status of Graham are explicitly detailed whereas 'Manhunter' is more elliptical in the dialogue and more moody in the bleak tone ala a David Mamet screenplay. Before he reigned in 'CSI', Petersen starred in two of the most pulse-pounding movies of the 80's, 'Manhunter' and 'To Live and Die in L.A.'. Petersen is the tenacious moral compass who must venture into the brooding recesses of his psyche to entrap his prey. For example, he bellows at the Leeds' home videos as if he was Dolarhyde's accomplice. The verbal byplay between Graham and Lecter is almost verbatim, but 'Manhunter' really exploits the sociopathic symbiosis further such as when Graham races out of the prison hyperventilating when Lecter exhorts that "they are very much alike". Michael Mann bathes the terrifically meditative 'Mahunter' in lustrous, nocturnal fluorescence and he burrows deep within the vicarious, pathological rush of investigators who must tap into their demons for civic duty.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 5, 2012
Finally I get round to seeing Manhunter and thankfully all the good stuff I've heard is true. Manhunter represents the best of Michael Mann, the best of the 80's (blue tints and synth soundtrack) and one of the last great thrillers before modern technology made writers lazy because even 12 year old kids can hack into government sites and shoot nuclear missiles using their mobile phones and stuff it seems these days. It is intense, captivating and 'thrilling', Tom Noonan's Francis Dollarhyde is just as scary as Buffalo Bill (and is better than Ralph Fiennes) and with only one outing as Hannibal Lecktor compared to Anthony Hopkins three, Brian Cox's version is just as menacing. Makes you wonder what he would have done with it had he aappearedin the following films.
Pierluigi P

Super Reviewer

April 15, 2012
William Petersen carries the film with a brave and ambivalent portrayal of a disturbed detective obsessed with the psychopath he must catch . Mann's atmospheric storytelling helps to feel the heat, anguish and horror in the minds of the duellists. The sinister Tom Noonan is the counterpart of the deadly game,

Super Reviewer

March 13, 2011
This is the first film adaptation of one of Thomas Harris's Hannibal novels, as well as the only one (so far) to have a remake. This version of Red Dragon strays quite far from the source material, and even changes character names to Lektor and Dollarhyde, but as a police procedural and a tense psychological thriller/killer film, it is absolutely wonderful.

Brett Ratner's Red Dragon followed the book far closer, and had a lot of good things about it, but let's be honest, it just feels very warmed over unremarkable. Plus, Mann is a far better director, hands down.

That's what really makes this film work. For those who don't know the plot: Will Graham is a retired FBI profiler who reluctantly gets back into the game to help hunt down an emerging killer known as the "Tooth Fairy". In order to get inside his head and get a better grasp on the man Graham seeks the aid of another serial killer named Hannibal Lektor, a man Graham had previously captured and almost lost his life in the process.

This is a really gripping and absorbing thriller that is intelligently written, wonderfully acted, and brilliantly shot, scored, and directed. The film gives a finely observed portrait of the forensic investigation process, and the emotional and psychological toll it can take. I love how the film is also very subtle and patient, heightening the tension and suspense, and causing a continually lingering feeling of unease.

All of this of course comes through with the things I mentioned above. I'm not really big on synth based music (barrign a few exceptions), but it fits perfectly here, despite somewhat dating the film. The use of Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is absolutely brilliant and ranks as one of the two best uses of it in popular culture. Frequent Mann collaborator Dante Spinotti once again does an excellent job with the cinematography with some excellent uses of light, framing, and angles to heighten the mood and themes.

You should really give this film a chance. It's a tightly plotted and engaging thriller with brains and a high level of artistic competantcy. Willima Petersen gives a great performance as the determined and haunted Graham, Tom Noonan is very creepy and chilling as the "Tooth Fairy" Francis Dollarhyde, Dennis Farina puts in good work as Graham's superior Jack Crawford, Stephen Lang is effectively scuzzy as a mangy tabloid journalist, and Brian Cox does a fanatastic and nicely nuanced and subtle job of playing Lektor. It's a more grounded performance than the one Anthony Hopkins would later give, but it's just as chilling if not more so.

Again, give this a shot. It's some tremendous stuff and a great reminder of why, even though he's gone a bit downhill as of late, Michael Mann is one of the best and most important directors of the past 50 years.
Dan S

Super Reviewer

October 20, 2007
Gripping story concerning a retired FBI agent (William L. Peterson) who is brought back for that dreaded "one last case", in which he is responsible for tracking down a psychotic serial killer (Tom Noonan) who specializes in murdering entire families. While flawed and sometimes feeling formulaic and manipulative, this film has got some style and terrific acting involved. Peterson's convincing turn as a man on a mission drives this movie, with outstanding support from Noonan (who is just downright creepy) and Brian Cox (playing an effective, less haunting version of Hannibal Lector). While the ending goes a little over-the-top, this movie has a lot going for it, including some ridiculous scenes (watch out for Stephen Lang in a wheelchair) as well as some nice stylistic shots.
Lady D

Super Reviewer

March 1, 2007
In most remake cases I would agree with the majority of people and say that originals are quite often the better version, this is one case I disagree and did much prefer the remake ?Red Dragon?.

Whilst a am a big fan of Brian Cox, there?s no doubt that Anthony Hopkins made this character his own and had seemed a much deeper character.

The film was interesting in comparison, but had a real corny 80?s feel to it, from the music to some of the acting (why do the 80?s seem the most dated era sometimes?).

Whilst most of the dialogue and scenes were very much alike, there was very little eerie about this version and didn?t have the good ending as it?s remake.

Super Reviewer

June 8, 2010
I am a big fan of the film Red Dragon, I thought it was a great adaptation of an amazing book. But Manhunter is an even more intense film and is very much darker than Red Dragon. The film has a certain tone to it that makes you feel very, very uneasy. The atmosphere is dark, surreal and nightmarish. Michael Mann (Heat, Collateral, Public Enemies) directs this film and his vision offers something special to this film. Manhunter is a very intense, shocking and thrilling film. It's the type of film that will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. A great cast compliments this strong film and make the film what it is. A darker more intense film than Red Dragon, Manhunter is one of a kind with intriguing twists and turns into madness, violence and death. Manhunter is the beginning of one of the most infamous villains in cinematic history. A suspense filled Horror Thriller, Manhunter is a unique viewing experience and is one of Michael Mann's best films.
Conner R

Super Reviewer

January 25, 2010
I've never been a fan of this interpretation of Red Dragon, it just doesn't feel anything like it should. The tone was completely wrong. Brian Cox was good as Hannibal, but it wasn't enough to save the movie. William Peterson was incredibly stale and highly unrelatable. Michael Mann just really didn't seem to be trying here at all.

Super Reviewer

January 5, 2009
Silence of the Lambs Lyte - Terrific thriller with a somewhat less menacing Hannibal Lecter.
Cassandra M

Super Reviewer

September 9, 2008
How many times have we heard "The film isn't as good as the book"? Let's face it. What film IS?! Red Dragon was a masterpiece and so is Manhunter.

To appreciate that there are two issues. Firstly, the film was created in 1986. It's stylised and looks slightly dated. The soundtrack is excellent but again very 1980's. Secondly, Red Dragon was not an easy book to write a screenplay for. There is way too much information that made the book so enthralling to squeeze in to 2 hours.

The cinematography, in particular the clever use of light and colours, is breathtaking. The choice of locations was also very deliberate. The scene where Will is running out of the building after speaking to Hannibal Lecter. They chose a building with a long spiral ramp down. The ramp is white, clinical. Running down the ramp is like those dreams where the bad man is chasing you and you can't get away. Will runs his heart out but doesn't get very far.

I agree that Cox plays a different Lecter but then the book wasn't about Lecter. There was some mention made but Lecter in this film is very much a Cameo appearance. The way in which Will goes about catching the killer is every bit as clever as Starling's methods, if not more so. In addition, we are treated to the thoughts, the inner monologue, the frustration and triumph of a hunter.

Make no mistake, if you expect an up-to-date movie as good in every respect as the book, you'll be disappointed. If you're sensible and expect nothing more than 2 hours quality entertainment you'll enjoy this one.

Super Reviewer

April 24, 2007
The best adaptation of any Thomas Harris novel.

Super Reviewer

May 12, 2008
Maybe if I'd have watched this for the first time much earlier in life than I did, I would've really enjoyed this, but as it stands this adaption of the Thomas Harris novel Red Dragon is only okay. The acting is superb and it's got a great story and feel to it, but for some reason it just didn't do anything to interest me. I believe Red Dragon to be a much better film than this one and Brian Cox, while good in the Lechter role, is no Anthony Hopkins. 3-4 stars is a good range, so I went for the middle road.

Super Reviewer

September 14, 2007
manhunter is very same as red dragon if you have seen it

personnally i prefer red dragon anthoony hopkins plays the part better and suits the part
Lafe F

Super Reviewer

July 2, 2007
A great psychological thriller done in a style like an 80's police drama. Will Graham (William Peterson) plays a detective who is good as profiling killers based on crime scenes. He investigates the Red Dragon killer and puts himself and his family at risk. He has a visit with the creepy Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Brian Cox) to get clues for finding the Red Dragon. The plot is interestingly woven, and we get to see inside the Red Dragon's personal activities. There's plenty of suspense as Detective Graham gets closer to the Red Dragon.
Dean !

Super Reviewer

April 29, 2007
A sort of prequel to the Silence of the lambs and very similar in plot.
Aaron N

Super Reviewer

March 31, 2007
Will Graham: It's just you and me now, sport. And I'm going to find you, God damn it.

Before the films that Anthony Hopkins was best known for came this original version of the adaptation of the novel Red Dragon.

Here we have Brian Cox plaing Lecter, spelled Lektor in this film. Although this doesn't matter much. He is in the film less, but that is more like the novel anyway. Cox is decent enough as Lecter, but is of course not as memorable a presence as Hopkins.

To the main story, we have William L Petersen as Will Graham, and the story is much more focused on his character. He deals with the pain he went through after catching Lecter and revisiting that experience going after the "Tooth Fairy."

Here the tooth fairy is some what of a more scrarier presence, not as well known and not given too much background depth as the novel goes into, he is effective enough.

Being a Michael Mann film, the film uses a lot of blue color palletes, and other little stylistic things one notices. And then there is also a good action scene at the end in true Mann fashion.

The soundtrack is also well used in the film, especially with the use of In A Gadda Da Vida.

Overall it's pretty good, a good cop film, good serial killer film, with a good cast, but I like Red Dragon a little bit more.

Doctor Hannibal Lecktor: Have you ever seen blood in the moonlight, Will? It appears quite black.

Super Reviewer

March 11, 2007
The original Lecter film has a slightly low budget feel, Michael Mann's TV heritage is obvious at this early point in his career. It is well done though, and was one of the first of this type of modern serial killer films.
Michael S

Super Reviewer

February 28, 2007
Better than Red dragon.
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