22 September 2011

September 22nd

Manhunter (1986) directed by Michael Mann
Hannibal Lecter (Lecktor?) movie numero uno.  I think I'll try to watch 'em all this Halloween season (I've never seen any of the post-Silence films).  Manhunter's a psychological police procedural rather than the scary serial killer movie I'd normally watch this time of year; it sits far closer to Insomnia than to Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.

I don't think I've ever noticed how beautifully shot this film is.  Mann composes each frame like a painting, arranging the objects on screen precisely.  His use of color is also excellent: the stark white of Lecktor's prison, the cool blue of Graham's beach house, the muted colors of Dollarhyde's house.  Check it out:

I love Brian Cox as Lecktor.  I may even like him better than Hopkins, but I'll have to re-watch Silence to know for sure.  Though Cox only has probably ten minutes of screentime, he's incredibly memorable.  He comes across as relaxed, unshakable and completely in control despite his imprisonment.  No slouch, either, is Tom Noonan, who's Dollarhyde is a man who can barely function in normal society due to his murderous insanity.

Yeah, it's got a cheezy '80s synth score and maybe the jump cuts during the climax are goofy and perhaps Graham jumping through Dollarhyde's window in dramatic slo-mo doesn't make a whole lot of logical sense, but it's a fine detective movie otherwise. (7/10)


  1. I love "Manhunter." I say the following completely without sarcasm: "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" has never been used better.

  2. Those grating 80's synth scores ruin a lot of early Mann (see also: The Keep).

  3. I used to hate the score, but, as we get further from the '80s, it's growing on me. It's of the time and appropriately fits with a movie from 1986. Ditto Graham's pink shorts.