As a massive fan of Thomas Harris and his work, Dr Hannibal Lecter has been a firm staple of my diet for around twenty years now. His material just resonated so well with my younger selves craving for maniacal and grotesque story points, set out in a very elegant way. Manhunter is based on Harris's first novel Red Dragon, where a broken down character profile investigator, Will Graham, is forced out of his reasonably normal settling's and plunged head first into the investigation of a crazed serial killer, The Red Dragon, a strange and possessed man who has a fixation with Blake's portrait, by the same name, and believes he is turning into the character himself. However for Graham to really get close to the killer, he must open up another chapter with famous Cannibal, Hannibal Lecter, who he previously caught, first. Its a pretty intense and lush setting and to say Michael Mann isnt up to the job is definately a lie. For me going back and watching Manhunter, after watching the now critically acclaimed show Hannibal, which most recently aired the story of The Red Dragon and done so in such a perfect way, its extremely difficult to shift the characters created here out of my head. It's not that whats on offer here is bad, but compared with the fleshed out and wonderfully subtle creations by Mads Mikkleson, Hugh Dancy and Richard Armitage, to name a few, Manhunter has suffered from age. It is however testament to Manhunter that it manages to be the closest and best installment of the cannibal apart from the television show and for that to be a problem almost 25 years on, is definately no fault of its own. In typical Mann fashion the film is utterly gorgeous to look at, even when the most terrifying scenes straight from the depths of hell arise, Mann still manages to make everything look utterly stunning, with his hilarious fixation on the colour blue down to inspiring camera work, Mann really knows how to fixate an audience and his work here is completely immersive. The music drills home a sense of unease and scatterbrained affairs which really add something haunting to the piece. Asthetically the film is a masterpiece, it looks haunting and immersive, the camera work is dynamic and rooted in a strong vision and the audio is tremendous. The problem with Manhunter, is that it suffers from a lack of identity. It doesnt feel like it wants to get to know the 3 important characters of the story, instead mainly lurking around Will for the most of it. It doesnt kill the piece, however knowing much more about the characters and having seen them in other installments play a larger role, Manhunter really hurts by not having enough Hannibal and Francis Dolarhyde. William Peterson, Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Stephen Lang and Tom Noonan all do a pretty solid job with the characters they have, the problem is that Brain Cox, playing a bizarrely upper class English Hannibal, isnt in the film nearly enough as he should be, neither is Noonan as Dolarhyde, although his lack of presence is forgivable as the film makes up for it in the second half and has a mysterious edge to it throughout the first. Noonan and Allen have very little time to discover their relationship, leaving the lead up to the finale feeling forced and under cooked. Although it is a rather iconic moment in cinema, you cannot help but feel a bit more could be done. The film also takes a less grotesque way around its content. The original material is extremely heavy with violent, sexual and cannabalistic overtones and here Mann struggles to mention the work cannibal never mind show blood. Yet again it doesnt kill the film, the idea that its played down, makes it extremely creepy and haunting, however I feel like some of the bite had been taken out, not seeing how the families were torn down, watching Dolarhyde become a monster and of course having our favorite cannibal actually be praised with eating someone is all missing here. It may just be because I am aware of the story back to front, ive seen where it can be taken and therefore find its lack of presence here slightly jarring, but I sadly cannot stray away from that feeling. Manhunter is eerily creepy, its stunning to watch, it envelopes you and sinks its teeth in nice and slowly. However through no fault of its own, it hasnt aged like a fine wine should.