the fresh films reviews

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Manhunter (1986)

Directed by:
Michael Mann
119 minutes
Produced by:
Dino de Laurentiis
Richard D. Roth
Written by (based on "Red Dragon" by Thomas Harris):
Michael Mann

Cast includes:

Will Graham William L. Petersen
Molly Graham Kim Greist
Reba McClane Joan Allen
Dr. Hannibal Lector Brian Cox
FBI Section Chief Jack Crawford Dennis Farina
Francis Dolarhyde Tom Noonan
Freddy Lounds Stephen Lang



Years before Anthony Hopkins shot to international stardom with his chilling, universally acclaimed Hannibal Lector, Scottish character actor Brian Cox put Thomas Harris' best-selling psycho to film for the first time. The movie was a second rate production directed by up and coming filmmaker Michael Mann and starring William L. Petersen i the role of FBI Agent Will Graham. It fared moderately at the box office, but gained a small cult following, particularly by Harris fans. Incidentally, this following was only enhanced by the release of the far more commercially successful Lecter movies of the '90s.

But cult-status aside, compared to Red Dragon (with which it shares the same story) Manhunter is a more straight-forward 'cop and killer'-film. The production values have "Miami Vice" written all over them and the dialogue is (for the period) typically subdued. This is not necessarily negative criticism, however, because the style works well within the movie and the characters are carefully and intelligently crafted and acted. Tom Noonan is great in a 'performance-of-a-lifetime'-role, and Brian Cox shows his versatility as Lector. The movie isn't as multilayered intriguing as Red Dragon, but then again Manhunter never risks running into the same trap as its successor (to over-focus on the Lector character).

Copyright 15.12.2004 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang [HAVE YOUR SAY]