Manhunter - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Manhunter Reviews

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November 27, 2016
Between Anthony Hopkins' pop culture-infused performance and Bryan Fuller's brilliant television series, the movie that introduced the world to Hannibal Lecter is often forgotten. But Michael Mann's Manhunter deserves another look. Based on the novel Red Dragon, Mann's adaptation cuts out much of the plot in favour of mood and atmosphere. In other words this is a perfect example of style over substance. And that style is pure 80s. Manhunter is definitely a product of its time and not everything has aged particularly well. The first half dealing with Will Graham's obsessive nature is perfectly constructed, with Mann creating an extremely suspenseful and surreal mood complimented by William Petersen's performance. When the story shifts to serial killer Francis Dollarhyde it loses momentum. Just about all of Dollarhyde's backstory and motivation has been left out, robbing the character of his depth and impact (despite a creepily effective job by Tom Noonan). And then there's Brian Cox as Hannibal, who manages to make a great impression with only ten minutes of screen time. Mann's camerawork and use of music create an uneasy, almost dream-like atmosphere. And while it's unfortunate he leaves out much of the novel's plot and graphic violence, the film still manages to make quite an impact. Not everything works, but the positives greatly outweigh the negatives and I highly recommend it.
½ November 27, 2016
Gosh man...those 80s feelings hit you over and over again..!
½ October 23, 2016
Considering what eventually became of Red Dragon in 2002, this is a great start for Hannibal Lecter.
October 22, 2016
This is still my favorite entry in the Hannibal Lector movies.
Michael Mann created a very interesting and atmospheric movie.
½ September 11, 2016
I had high exceptions due to the high ratings given for this film. I was left disappointed and I much prefer the film the Red Dragon. I also didn't find this version very scary or haunting at all.
July 25, 2016
Never knew this movie was first
½ June 12, 2016
Very good psychological thriller has a FBI agent looking to Hannibal Lektor for help in capturing a serial killer. Liked Petersen in the lead role. Best part of the film is the relentless pace, maintains interest throughout and never really goes into a lull.
June 12, 2016
Michael Mann's adaptation of the Thomas Harris novel Red Dragon entitled Manhunter is one of best police procedural and criminal profiling movies you're ever likely to find. The movie is soaked in the timeframe that it was filmed in, but it doesn't really matter. The film tells the story of Will Graham, who was a retired criminal profiler for the FBI, but is brought back onto a case after nearly losing his life solving his previous case. He goes after the serial killer known as The Tooth Fairy, but in order to get inside the mind of the killer in order to find him, he must revisit his previous case, namely, Hannibal Lektor (changed from Lecter in the original novel). The film is famously known as the film that introduced Hannibal Lecter to the world prior to the success of The Silence of the Lambs, but this is a superior film in a lot of ways. I think that The Silence of the Lambs is a masterpiece in its own right, but Manhunter is a much darker and much more involving thriller. The color palette of the film is tremendous, using lots of blues, reds, and greens, and the cinematography is always interesting to look at. It's just a masterpiece of storytelling.
½ June 12, 2016
Chilling and highly stylized, Michael Mann's early take on the novel 'Red Dragon' is an intense and surreal thriller. William Peterson and Tom Noonan are electrifying, and the score and cinematography are expertly disorienting. Though less popular than the other adaptations of Thomas Harris' novel(s), 'Manhunter' is a solid flick.
April 30, 2016
It's just not right for the lector series or should I call it the lecktor series? Also it was just not loyal to the book red dragon like the red dragon from 2002 was.
April 5, 2016
This is the original version of Red dragon and it is very scary. Do not bother with Silence of the lambs or Hannibal . This is mush better. The remake Red dragon is better. But still this is a very scary movie. See it.
½ March 20, 2016
Absorbing crime drama has investigator tracking a serial killer by attempting to get into his mindset and motivations. Well done by Michael Mann and the film debut for the Hannibal Lecter character. A film that unfortunately flew under the radar and fared poorly at the box office.
January 31, 2016
An unique study of diseased mind through its horrifying process of attempting apotheosis. In the scene of tiger, it is evident that there is no assumption of radical, innate-born evil in the "red dragon" but a profoundly diseased mind who can still capably of a fraction of the genuine human feeling, even though the rest is too far gone. A radically different view of human mind in its most dark and bleakest condition, yet still recognizably human. It refused to reduce the killer into a ferocious and crazed animal.
½ January 30, 2016
An exercise in inevitability, tepidity and inanity. Uninspiring performances and a score best left in the 80s. Self-respecting Hannibal Lecter fans distance yourselves from this. The triumphs in story and character that are common in later movies in the franchise make no appearance here.
January 13, 2016
A good movie, but it doesn't touch Silence of the Lambs. It is better than Red Dragon though, which was its remake a decade or so later. William Peterson and Tom Noonan are both very good in particular.
½ December 10, 2015
How the hell this gets 94% I will never know but I just wasted two hours of my life watching this cheesy crap. Not the least bit scary, creepy or thrilling. A lot of really bad dialogue and over acting. It's eye rolling cringeworthy rubbish.
½ November 22, 2015
Manhunter and Red Dragon may be based off the same book but Manhunter has two advantages, Michael Mann and Petersen. Edward Orton is a great actor but Petersen's Will Graham just gets far more involved with hunting down the killer. If Red Dragon had Petersen playing Will Graham and Hopkins playing Lecter, it would be the best of both worlds but that isn't how things played out and the actor who plays Lecter in Manhunter, while he's pretty sinister, he's not as menacing as Hopkins. However, while Fiennes did a good job in Red Dragon, Noonan plays a much better Dollarhyde, and the final fight between Graham and Dollarhyde in Manhunter is far more rewarding than the final showdown between Dollarhyde and Graham's wife in Red Dragon.

Did I mention Manhunter has a great soundtrack, far better than the instrumental soundtrack Red Dragon has. It features numerous gems from the 80's from Shriekback and other new wave/post punk band, and the songs don't date the film since they weren't overly played 80's songs.
November 17, 2015
prviot film za Hannibal so William Petersen
November 16, 2015
exceptional in every way.
½ September 25, 2015
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.
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