Manhunter ★★★★★

Any previous misgivings I had about the 80s rock/synth soundtrack undercutting tension have washed away with this viewing. Mann's director's cut paints an even clearer picture of how his strengths so beautifully fit Harris, giving each glance a charge of longing and desperation. Rain-drenched backdrops force Will Graham to embrace self-reflection while comforting blues clash with abrasive reds--at times this feels like the BLADE RUNNER of serial killer movies.

If SILENCE OF THE LAMBS is a reflection of the effort to empathize with others, this is a dive into dealing with oneself--all the "ugliest feelings in the world" included. Idyllic romantic sequences and the warm soundtrack create a false sense of comfort that matches both Graham's and Dollarhyde's begrudging acceptance of their violent lives. The only way they can make sense of anything is to reduce it all to the simplest of terms--childlike explanations for Graham, self-imposed spirituality for Dollarhyde. Though the film may not be as overtly graphic as other Harris adaptations, Mann's knack for color, spacing and mood conveys psychological prisons as disturbing as the best in the horror genre.

I've always enjoyed, admired, and sometimes even loved Michael Mann. It took a third viewing of MANHUNTER for me to realize how sneakily emotional he can be.