Manhunter (1986)
By: Ryan Morrissey-Smith on May 8, 2015 | Comments
Siren Visual | Region B | 2.35:1, 1080p | English DTS-HD MA 5.1 | 119 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Michael Mann
Stars: William Petersen, Tom Noonan, Kim Greist, Dennis Farina, Brian Cox, Joan Allen, Stephen Lang
Writers: Michael Mann (based on the novel by Thomas Harris)
Country: USA
Confession: I had never seen Manhunter, yet it was on my list of must-sees. Was it worth it? Short answer – Hell yes. Michael Mann's Manhunter was the first introduction into the world of Hannibal Lecter (or Lecktor as it was in the film). With Red Dragon being made some 16 years later, Manhunter stands up as the better film version.

The film follows Will Graham (William Petersen) a former FBI profiler who has since quit after Lektor (Brian Cox) got stabby with him. He is convinced to return to hunt down the serial killer dubbed the 'Tooth Fairy'… and ends up seeking help from Lecktor, even though he knows he can get inside his head.

There is no mistaking that this is a Michael Mann film. Minimalist, dark colours, and despite it being an 80s film there is no garish excess, just a trimmed down and taut thriller. Mann's opening POV shots of the Tooth Fairy stalking through a family home in the dead of night are beyond creepy. With Mann also writing the screenplay, he managed to make Graham, Lecktor and the 'Tooth Fairy' all real characters with exceptional talents (weird or deadly as they maybe) and flaws. Rounding out their characters certainly helps raise the tension in the film. The music in Manhunter is terrific, a mix of Iron Butterfly, Red 7 & Shriekback amongst the original score and it all works together with the film hitting most of the musical cues, adding to the effect.

The acting is wonderful from the three main characters. Petersen particularly plays the possibly unhinged Graham with a balancing act teetering on the edge of Nic Cage level nutso, his monologues to the camera when getting into the mind of the serial killer are great. Brian Cox plays a similar version of Lecktor to the well-known Hopkins version. Hopkins' Lecter is of course superior, but Cox still brings a creepy vibe and the intelligence required to play such a character. The 'Tooth Fairy' or Francis Dollarhyde played by Tom Noonan (who incidentally always rocks) is a great character. A monster, yet at the same the film concerns itself with Dollarhyde's interactions with a blind woman (Reba McClane, played by Joan Allen), and Noonan manages to bring an uncomfortable, socially awkward affection for Reba despite that fact he is a killer. In the film Graham describes him as irredeemable and whilst that may be true, you can't help but feel there is just a little bit of hope for Dollarhyde, before it is cruelly taken away.
The Disc
The transfer is great, crisp and clean. The dolby 5.1 DTS HD track is also pure. No buzz, no nothing. The Blu-ray is bare bones, with one exception, you get the theatrical cut (in HD) or the director's cut (in standard definition) but that's it.
The Verdict
A great little thriller with fleshed out characters making for a very tense film. Despite its age Manhunter is a film that hasn't really dated and is an outstanding effort.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
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