Though it will always be remembered as the movie featuring the "other" Hannibal Lecter, Michael Mann's 1986 thriller Manhunter is nearly as good as The Silence of the Lambs, and in some respects it's arguably even better. Based on Thomas Harris's novel Red Dragon, which introduced the world to the nefarious killer Hannibal "the Cannibal" Lecter, the film stars William Petersen (giving a suitably brooding performance) as ex-FBI agent Will Graham, who is coaxed out of semiretirement to track down a serial killer who has thwarted the authorities at every turn.
Graham's approach to the case is a perilous one. First he seeks counsel with Lecter (Brian Cox) in the latter's high-security prison cell--an encounter that is utterly horrifying in its psychological effect--and then he begins to mold his own psyche to that of the killer, with potentially devastating results. As directed by Mann (who was at the acme of his success with TV's Miami Vice), this sophisticated cat-and-mouse game never resorts to the compromise of cheap thrills. Predating Anthony Hopkins's portrayal of Lecter by four years, Cox plays the character closer to Harris's original, lower-key conception, and he's no less compelling in the role. Petersen is equally well cast, and as always Mann employs rock music to astonishing effect, using nearly all of Iron Butterfly's heavy-metal epic "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" to accompany the film's heart-stopping climactic sequence. All of this makes Manhunter one of the finest films of its kind, as well as further proof that Harris's fiction is a blessing to any filmmaker brave enough to adapt it. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This movie has always been the prelude to Silence of the Lambs for me.Published 17 days ago by Deborah Shortt
Superbly acted, directed and shot. The cinematography, slick music and excellent casting make this a true delight for the senses. Brilliant acting with convincing characters. Read morePublished on Sept. 29 2013 by Andrew C. Miller
This is where it all started, years before Silence of the Lambs. Director Michael Mann gives this film a slick 80's look, it's tense, well acted and has a very different Hannibal... Read morePublished on Feb. 21 2012 by D. Beelik
I first rented this movie in the late '80s, and I really only did so to see Chris Elliot's cameo -- give me a break, I was really bored that weekend! Read morePublished on May 9 2004
After hearing all the rave reviews for the prequel that was better then silence, and reading the book that is one of my all time favorites. I bought this movie. Read morePublished on March 15 2004 by David Finniss