Saturday, June 20, 2009
Manhunter; thriller, USA, 1986; D: Michael Mann, S: William Petersen, Dennis Farina, Kim Greist, Brian Cox, Stephen Lang, Joan Allen, Tom Noonan
Former FBI agent Will Graham decides to join the investigation of mysterious homicides after his colleague shows the photos of a murdered family. The killer is obviously a psychopath who attacks only during full moon, and due to the unusual jaw he got the nickname "Tooth fairy". Will asks assistance from murderer Dr. Hannibal Lecter, whom he put behind bars. But Hannibal contacts the killer and even gives him suggestions to kill Will's family in Florida. The killer is Francis who tries to killer a blind woman after a relationship, but Will finds and stops him in time.
Excellent crime thriller "Manhunter", an adaptation of Thomas Harris' novel "Red Dragon", is by it's story, assembly and direction even superior to the hyped sequel "The Silence of the Lambs". Michael Mann proved to be a clever director with loads of highlights, whereas here the thing that matters to him is the style, not violence: the nights are filmed in beautifully blue cinematography, embodying some evasive spirit of the 80s, while details are fantastic, like when agent Will reconstructs the murder in a bloody house by reading the report from the paper. In prison he meets Hannibal Lecter who immediately greets him with a critique ("You still use that awful aftershave?") while he replies him that he captured him because he had a "flaw called madness". It's a pity that Lecter only has a small, 5 minute appearance, but he is wonderfully played by Brian Cox, who refused to repeat his role in "Lambs". It's also excellent how the police is trying to analyze his message on a toilet paper using various technologies. Some have lamented about the odd synthesizer music, but it's one of the finest scores of the 80s, unbelievably blending in with the film as a whole in creating a magical, almost esoteric mood.