Manhunter ★★★

Drenched in an eighties neon light that after a while becomes quite grating, Michael Mann's "Manhunter" is a cold and calculated take on Thomas Harris' bestseller. Featuring a Brian Cox portrayal of Harris' most elaborate of characters, a certain Dr Hannibal Lecktor, Cox's take is chilling and skips the pantomime villain aspect that Anthony Hopkins would bring to the part some five years later. While "Silence Of The Lambs" would properly announce the arrival of "Hannibal," this small role is often perceived to be the quintessential Dr Lecktor.

William Petersen however successful he became playing a certain Las Vegas CSI is an actor with little range. Here he gives his all but never fully convinces as the cerebral FBI profiler. Unfortunately you can't help but compare this with Brett Rattner's "Red Dragon" and although this film usually takes the plaudits, I still prefer the Hopkins, Norton and co.'s effort. Maybe it's Hopkins' villainous performance or Norton's more believable take on Will Graham? Maybe the quality support players are also a factor? I just prefer "Red Dragon". Dennis Farina isn't Harvey Kietel. Sorry, but he ain't. Comparisons over.

Mann's murky world is dirty and unforgiving. His "Tooth-Fairy" serial killer is a serious nut-job and with those tights over the top half of his face looks as mental as the crimes he commits. Tom Noonan can be a scary guy. He's almost as big as Letterboxd's own Ron, but should stick to organizing bank heists for Robert De Niro and co. Mann would go on to make much better and accessible films that would earn him his reputation for stylized violence and frenetic set pieces, but he seems to do better when he's not adapting someone else's work. I must admit I do like Mann's movies, but this is my least favorite along with " Public Enemies". Worth the watch apparently just to "see William Petersen in those tight shorts " says the wife, but for me Cox's unforgettable turn as Hannibal is enough to warrant a visit.

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