Manhunter ★★★★

Thief’s poetic expressionism taken to even bolder heights, both light and space rendered as disorienting subjective projections. The nighttime blues bathing Graham’s Florida home, sensually enveloping but also eerie, their unspoken echo in the lunar rhythms of Dollarhyde’s murderous impulses; the alienating modernism of Lecktor’s Atlanta hospital, a clinically white space oppressive in its very openness; the ominous glows of neon green dominating Dollarhyde’s otherworldly house, the pulsations both artificial and natural of some all-pervasive menace. Pop-rock music employed as the deafening sound of nightmare, the power ballad “Strong as I Am” transformed into a soaring anthem of malevolent voyeurism. As in Thief, Mann’s interested in entrapment, though here what Graham is forever unable to escape is his own mind, his powers of empathy his gift but also his traumatizing prison. “What are you dreaming?” Characters repeatedly framed staring out at water’s vast expanse, most notably in Graham’s introduction and the final shot; the promise of escape that in Mann’s world always remains only a promise, never to be fulfilled.

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