Manhunter ★★★★

Manhunter could have been just another police procedural with a serial killer but Michael Mann drenches it in atmosphere, basks it in eighties aesthetics and imparts on it his own meticulous style of stunning widescreen compositions and visual flair.

Much like Thief before it, this isn't your ordinary crime drama, instead it becomes a detailed character study with a hypnotic rhythm and sizzling soundtrack that is unbearably tense and unbelievably gripping, the two hours just whizzed by and I as finally able to breathe once the credits began to roll over the freeze frame at the beach.

William Petersen, fresh from a dazzlingly energetic lead role in To Live and Die in L.A. is once more playing the good guy, tormented and corrupted by his work as the stakes are raised higher. Anthony Hopkins will always be Hannibal Lecter in most people's minds, and rightly so but Brian Cox does a fine job here, playing him just as creepily and with every bit as much ferocious, utterly menacing intellect.

Dense and novelistic, it deviates from Thomas Harris' source material which every adaptation should aim to do if the director deems it necessary, Mann clearly had his own ideas and wasn't afraid to experiment. Up there as one of his best.

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