Manhunter ★★★★½

Still licking my wounds over the probable end of HANNIBAL (the best show on TV), I felt it was time to check out Michael Mann's MANHUNTER again, which I hadn't seen in many years. It's been on my mind a lot, considering that the second half of HANNIBAL's third season dealt very effectively with the same story ground, that of Thomas Harris's novel RED DRAGON.

Here, William Peterson (best known these days for CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION) stars as Will Graham, a borderline-mentally-unstable former FBI agent who is brought back into the fold to help catch a vicious serial killer nicknamed "The Tooth Fairy," played with oily, alien-like menace by the great Tom Noonan. The character of Hannibal Lecter (here called "Hannibal Lecktor" for some reason) also appears of course, and though Brian Cox's performance isn't as memorable as Anthony Hopkins's or Mads Mikkelsen's, he's Brian Cox and Brian Cox is always great.

Being a Michael Mann film, it has loads of visual style and a very '80s feel, at times distractingly so (especially some of the interior art direction). As much as I love Michael Mann, his style here does tend to mute the intensity at times. However, the majority of the film is amazing; scary, fast-paced, sharply scripted (by Mann himself) and the climax utilizes Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" to maximum effect.

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