Manhunter ★★★★½


What does it mean to be a bad man? What does it take to catch a bad man? What Michael Mann’s pre CSI procedural argues is that thinking like a bad man is insufficient.

What it really take to catch a bad man, in this case a devishly deviant serial killer who calls himself the Tooth Fairy, isn’t thinking like him, but feeling like him. That’s the true horror that Mann seemed to draw on from Thomas Harris’ novel “Red Dragon”. 

In the film these ideas aren’t articulated through words, but rather images. Deep blues and splashy pools of red light that fill the interiors of a FBI developmental dark room. The cracking of the case delivers a thrill that rivals anything I’ve seen from a similar story, all while maintaining Mann’s trademark fetishism of professionals in process. Where a lesser filmmaker may find stasis, he digs deeper and finds the heart of the story behind desks and within the bounds of eeeily uncinematic looking crime scenes.

The ugliest thoughts in the world.”

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