Manhunter ★★★★½


In which Michael Mann proves that his use of music, to invade and map spaces both internal and external, is an anomaly in film. There is nothing comparable to the scene where Dollarhyde imagines the kiss on the front step while "Strong As I Am" plays in any movie I've ever seen. And of course the "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" montage is the perfect fusion of experimental montage and operatic genre grammar years before John Woo's The Killer. A few days ago I called Michael Mann one of my four favourite directors as part of a twitter game and while I could never actually settle on anything remotely like a definitive favourite filmmaker, Mann will always be near the top. He never stopped playing with celluloid while he worked on it, and then he wrote the handbook for digital. Fearless. And complain all you want about the William Peterson performance, I think it fits the milieu, but there is no fucking with Tom Noonan's work here. One of the great boogeymen. So complete and complex, everything from the tips of his fingers given over to this man and his derangement and his humanity. Your heart breaks for him, even as he's about to murder a dozen people.