Haikal_F’s review published on Letterboxd:
It'd been awhile been I've seen this movie, but being a huge fan of the current Hannibal series, I was interested in revisiting it and comparing the portrayals of the characters that appear in both. Also, there's never a bad time to watch some early Michael Mann action. This is stylistically and thematically in keeping with most of his work, with precise camera movements, an electronic score and a focus on professional men on the edge, doing what they do best.
Probably the biggest departure between this film and the other films in the "Hannibal" series, is the spare use of the Lector character. He's only in two or three scenes and while shown to be quite intelligent, he hasn't reached supervillain status. The focus here on is on the Will Graham character as he deals with his internal demons, while on the trail of 'The Tooth Fairy.'
Peterson does a great job portraying a troubled, intense FBI profiler. There's always something going on in his head and he tells so much while doing so little (Manhunter would make a really good double feature with another Peterson film from that time, "To Live and Die in L.A."). Farina is also really good as Graham's handler, Jack Crawford, who's had quite the roll call of actors playing him. He does authority really well, which makes sense considering he was a real life cop when Mann first met him. Tom Noonan, while frightening as the serial killer, is perhaps a little too understated, but he sure looks the part.
The film looks great and it's stylistic meticulousness and precision matches how the characters carry themselves, which is trademark Mann. However, this is definitely an '80s movie. There are a handful of flourishes that haven't aged really well and the soundtrack is kind of chessy, though that depends on your love for the music of the time. This probably isn't near the top of my list of Michael Mann movies, but is a really good serial killer flick nonetheless.