David Alkhed’s review published on Letterboxd:
Manhunter is another brilliant film from the great film director Michael Mann, and quite possibly the very best film in the Hannibal Lecter franchise.
Will Graham is a former profiler for the FBI who gets called back into action in order to catch a serial killer nicknamed "the Tooth Fairy".
All the actors in the film are brilliant, with Petersen, Cox and Noonan being the big standouts. Petersen perfectly portrays a man with a dark past that he must relive in order to do his job and catch the killer. Cox is chilling as the infamous Hannibal Lecter (or Lecktor as it's spelled in this film). What I like most about his portrayal is that he makes Lecktor believable. I've slowly grown to dislike Hopkins' more famous portrayal, not because Hopkins isn't a terrific actor, but his portrayal strikes me as more comical than terrifying. Noonan is also brilliant as Francis Dollarhyde or "the Tooth Fairy". Despite being a serial killer, he actually makes you sympathise with him. He can't help that he's a killer, because he was manufactured as one.
With Manhunter, Mann creates an eerie yet almost dreamlike atmosphere, mainly through the cinematography and the music. The film is highly expressionistic, and gives you a sense of insight into the characters and their inner demons and struggles. All of these elements perfectly reflect on the films themes of duality and the true nature of evil. As Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you". And this is the very essense of Manhunter.
So when it comes down to the great showdown between Manhunter and Red Dragon, I'll go with Manhunter every day of the week. It's more stylish, it's got better acting and it's simply a better film.
Anyway, it's great!