DVD REVIEW: Manhunter

I remember watching this movie years ago before Silence of the Lambs had come out and thinking it was kinda cool. Based on the Thomas Harris novel Red Dragon novel and directed by Miami Vice and Heat’s Michael Mann, how does it stand now.

Manhunter (1986)

Director: Michael Mann

Writers: Thomas Harris (novel), Michael Mann (screenplay)

Stars: William Petersen, Kim Greist and Joan Allen

Hannibal Lecktor (Brian Cox) has been incarcerated for a few years already and Will Graham (Petersen) the profiler who captured him has been called out of emotional retirement to help with a new case tracking the serial killer called the Tooth Fairy. Graham starts to get into the mind of the Tooth Fairy but needs some help so he goes back to Lecktor for inspiration and so the cycle starts.

Throughout the film we see how Petersen captured Lecktor the first time by using the same tools this time round.  During the movie we also get to see the Tooth fairy and his side of things and a tragic take of sorts comes to the forefront. This was by far the most interesting thing about this movie. The ending is rushed but fulfilling.

The first thing you notice about this Blu-ray is how good it looks, yes it is not perfect but for a film that was shot in 1986 it looks clean and crisp and Director Mann loves his colours and sunrises which is perfect for this format. He has taken care to make sure every scene and shot has meaning and uses his camera work to full effect.

The cast are solid with Cox giving a cool and committed performance as Lecktor and I found that I was never comparing it to Hopkins take which means it stood out on it’s own. Petersen gives a cold and a little to over the top performance but it seems in keeping with the 80’s period. However the best for me was the Tooth Fairy played by Tom Noonan. His performance was great and the relationship he strikes up with blind co worker played by Joan Allen is the real emotional core of the film.

The extras are fine with a Director Cut that also included a directors commentary and a couple of making of documentaries. One of which has a decent interview with Petersen recalling his thoughts on the film including one part of why the name change. Apparently they thought that people would think that Red Dragon was a martial arts movie so they decided on Manhunter.

Overall a highly enjoyable release that is well worth the ride.

GS Rating 3.5/5

GS Rating: Montoya

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