3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars classic action/thriller
manhunter was released in 1986 and is a prequel to the silence of
the lambs.it was remade in 2002,with different actors under the name
red dragonand while both movies are very good,there are some
differences.man hunter is very atmospheric in tone,utilizing music
more.it is very stylistic,yet also has substance.the action and drama
scenes are well...
Published on Feb. 26 2008 by falcon
3.0 out of 5 stars good, not great
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. It's true to the book but for some reason it just didnt hold my attention the way a great movie does. The "stellar" performance by tom noonan as francis dolarhyde is ridiculous, yes he did a decent job...
Published on March 16 2004 by David Finniss
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but if you like the film buy the other version!,
I know Manhunter is somewhat dated and has a very 80s feel to it, but this was a very well-done, creepy film with decent acting and decent directing. Unfortunately, the powers that be (which I suppose in this case is director Michael Mann) have made it so that out of the 4 or 5 different VHS and DVD releases of this film, not one has ever been of the actual theatrical film. Even though these new DVD releases have some new footage put in, there are several short scenes from the original cut that have always been chopped out of these home releases, for some unknown reason. This particular release includes some new clips that add nothing to the plot of the movie and actually make you like some of the lead characters less; they were better off left on the cutting room floor, as they were originally. What makes these new scenes most distracting is that their quality is terrible, so you'll be watching a crisp, high-quality scene and all of a sudden a little grainy, awful-looking clip will appear, having been spliced back in, and then the picture quality suddenly goes to perfect again. Very distracting. I've never seen a director's cut of a film done this way, and I hope I never do again. Most directors would cringe at the thought of saying, "Yes, this is my perfect vision of how this film should have looked, even with these horrible-looking clips included." To get the best experience of this movie, stick with the 2001 release. This one is only interesting for one viewing, and only then just for hard-core fans of the film whose curiosity is piqued.
2.0 out of 5 stars Very overrated,
With all the buzz out there, I rented this film with some anticipation only to find that the "original" does not equate with higher quality. First of all, it lacks the writing, direction, and acting of both the "sequel", 'Silence of the Lambs', and the recent remake 'Red Dragon'. Neither this glorified movie-of-the-week nor the misfire, 'Hannibal', are worthy additions to the franchise.
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the series,
By A Customer
This review is from: Manhunter (DVD)
Unlike the Dec. 26th troll down below who repeated himself (or herself) three times, I must say this is the best one out of the bunch. I saw it twice in the movie theaters when it came out and bought a cassette of the soundtrack, which has criminally been out of print since 1986.
Brian Cox was effectively creepy and didn't overact in a hammy fashion they way Anthony Hopkins did. And William Petersen beats the pants off Edward Norton, anyday of the week! Too bad the later films got all the glory.
I wish MCA or Rhino would re-release the soundtrack since my cassette wore out a long time ago.
5.0 out of 5 stars not as vivid and sharp as the 2001 DVD release,
Manhunter the restored director's cut is the most comprehensive version of the film and the transfer was supervised by Michael Mann, but the source print doesn't look like it's in as good of shape as the one used in the Anchor Bay 2001 theatrical version DVD release. I am referring to all of the scenes. The color is more washed out and there is more film grain present than the 2001 release. The picture has a darker look to it, the lush colors of the 2001 release are lacking. The opening scene is framed differently and is grainier than the other version. The scenes edited back into the movie are of horrible quality, and add little to the film, but nevertheless work very well. The opening credits appear as Will Graham is asked to help track the Tooth Fairy on the beach instead of shortly before. There is an extra scene with Will and Molly having a telephone conversation, along with an extension of a scene with Dennis Farina. The most noticeable difference is the end where an additional scene is provided where Graham visits the Jacobis, which on the theatrical release were only referred to. The shootout between the Tooth Fairy and Graham is edited a little different too. I prefer the 2001 DVD for this scene, but that's just me. This version of the film is in Dolby Digital 2.0 instead of Dolby 5.1 used in the 2001 release. The sound isnt going to test your home theater, but does exhibit decent separation. This movie is a Super 35 movie which shows more grain than anamorphic 2.35 or Academy Flat 1.85. This also means that both DVD versions show more width than what you might have seen on TV, or the VHS release, but are matted and show less height. This is just the Super 35 process which allows more flexiblity in framing. This is the version Michael Mann intended for you to see, still if you like the film, the 2001 DVD release isnt a let down because of the slightly better transfer. The director's cut print doesn't seem to be in as good of shape. Highly recommended. I like this better than Red Dragon, because this is more realistic, and the characters are more developed and believable.
4.0 out of 5 stars Manhunter (director's cut edition),
This review is from: Manhunter (VHS Tape)
An FBI agent William Graham (William L. Petersen) comes out of retirement to examine a set of bizarre murders of families. These murders are suspected to have been the work of notorious serial killer known as The Tooth Fairy. Interested enough by the case, Graham makes use of profiling, or tries to think exactly like the killer in order to gain clues regarding his various whereabouts. He consults the incarcerated psychopathic psychiatrist that put him into retirement through near-fatal violence, Hannibal Lecktor (Brian Cox), for further clues. Graham is put into considerable danger when Lecktor warns The Tooth Fairy via phone of the case. It is only a matter of time before The Tooth Fairy will create another victim.
Complicated, well acted, and absorbing, Manhunter is an original thriller that focuses on the unique psychological struggle to catch a heinous criminal.
Note: the director's cut edition has an alternative ending.
If you liked this film, I would recommend you see "Silence of the Lambs", in which Hannibal Lecktor's character is emphasized more.
Overall rating: 4 stars
Rated R for adult themes, sexual encounters, language, and violence.
3.0 out of 5 stars Too stylized for the 1980's.,
This review is from: Manhunter (DVD)
This is an average film in terms of pacing, script, direction and acting. What's most memorable about this film is that it was made in the 1980's.
Red Dragon, a remake of Manhunter, offers a more compelling treatment of Harris' novel.
5.0 out of 5 stars THE ORIGINAL RED DRAGON, AND A MASTERPIECE,
My first Michael Mann movie was "Heat", a stunning drama in itself. When I saw "The Insider," I was hooked on to his style. This movie predates the other two, so this is where his style must have developed. Lots of wide-angled shots, a fluid narrative and some astonishingly riveting music (the soundtrack is hard to find btw, it is a collector's item now and boy does it deserve to be!)
Manhunter was the first movie adaptation of Tom Harris' book called "The Red Dragon". Although this is a Hannibal Lecktor movie (yes, with a "K") the role of Hannibal is not that prominent here, although what little there is does leave a malevolent tinge. Apparently, Brian Cox (as Lecktor here) caused a lot of furore in 1986 but after having seen Anthony Hopkins thrice in the quietly sinister role I must say he is unmatched. The voice of Hopkins has much more current than Cox's. IMHO.
With the exception of Hopkins though, whom I prefer, almost everyone in this film is more compelling than the newer movies (Silence of the lambs, Hannibal, Red Dragon.)
I found William Petersen as FBI manhunter Will Graham much more appealing than Jodie Foster's or Julian Moore's Clarice Starling. Petersen's portrayal of Graham as the haunted, introspective, reluctant hero is more complex and believable...you get the sense that he is driven by inner demons to solve the crime he is faced with, but doesn't really want to be there and would much rather spend the remainder of his days in the bosom of his family on the beaches of Captiva Island.
The centerpiece of the film though is the terrifying portrayal of psychotic killer Francis Dollarhyde by the underrated but talented actor Tom Noonan. Noonan's hulking build seems a stark contrast to his character's quiet, introverted, soft-spoken persona, which hides the inner embodiment of pure, psychotic evil. Here is a guy who runs a photo lab by day but returns every night to a spooky, surreal lair which obviously reflects his inner psychosis, which he has learned to hide from view. The symbolism of his relationship with the blind Reba (Joan Allen) is obvious. His character is able to present a normal appearance to everyone around him yet goes out on the night of a full moon and slaughters whole families whose pictures he has processed, simply to fulfill his fantasies.
Give this film a go if you can manage the tension and the buildup to the shattering climax. Then give the family a hug afterwards, and make sure your doors and windows are locked at night. Mann's filmmaking has a way to make your skin crawl.
5.0 out of 5 stars Manhunter (or The Great Red Dragon),
What can I possibly add that 300 + reviews haven't already stated.
I know after watching Red Dragon (the Brett Ratner version) I wanted to write Michael Mann a personal letter (definitely not my style!!!) thanking him for the beautiful movie he made in 1986 called Manhunter.
It has always been one of my favourite, must have movies, and after seeing Red Dragon, I now knew why. For those who Silence of the Lambs/Hannibal/Red Dragon were first introductions to these characters, I wish they had only been acquainted with 'Manhunter' first, but generational and promotional gaps can't be helped. Mann's film was low budget, but he presented one of the most influential crime films of its time. The style and atmosphere were an inspiration to many a movie and television drama after it, despite its lack of monetary backing.
I rewatched Manhunter after Red Dragon, and even noticed that Jodie Foster played her character in Silence of The Lambs much like Petersen did, even down to facial twitches when speaking to Hannibal. There's something about the Frankenstein Dungeon atmosphere of the 90's adaptions of Hannibal that has always for me 'telegraphed' the menace of the cannibal psychologist, but I always felt that Anthony Hopkins was brilliant as Hannibal just by the sheer menace that boiled underneath him. Great actor, and I personally feel he saves all 3 films from a slight mediocrity when held in comparison to Mann's Manhunter. Hannibal in an all- white prison cell (as in Manhunter) somehow allows the actor to ''create'' that menace in a blank space. The big difference in Hannibal's (Cox & Hopkins) is the speed in which they deliver their insanity. Hopkins is very slow and menacing, manipulative and calculating in speech, Brian Cox quick and sure-footed, adapting quickly to each situation and response as it arrives. I feel both are suited for that character. But there was something about Cox's way of getting Will Graham's home phone number in Manhunter that I found more believeable and chilling at how easy it was gotten. Hopkins is a wonderful actor, and I can only imagine what Mann could have done if given the liberty to work with him, but Cox is certainly admirable and credible in the role as well. Understated is the word. Hopkins LOOKS crazy. I'm not so sure I would go to him for psychological advice. Cox is much more approachable, and thats where the danger is.
There is so much in Mann's Manhunter that stylistically, atmospherically and artistically dwarfs the later adaptions, even though it was low budget, that I cannot even begin to describe how well this movie worked on so many levels. The main one being, the characters are so much more defined. Details from the book are somewhat left out, but what is brought in its stead is 'mood'. Dennis Farina carries the protective air over Petersen's Graham to much greater effect. The feeling is that Farina's Crawford is just as in danger of falling over the psychological 'edge' as Petersen's Graham, but he serves as a foothold for the character should they start falling. You start caring about these characters and their dependency on eachother in mad circumstances, Lecktor/Graham/Crawford and The Red Dragon/Tooth Fairy Dolarhyde. The relationships are shown and explored through camerawork and very understated acting. Everything is very low key. Until the menace begins to grow.
Brilliant film. Too bad Mann was not asked to direct Red Dragon. THAT would have been justice!
5.0 out of 5 stars RESTORED DIRECTOR'S CUT DIVIMAX EDITION,
"MANHUNTER" is a 5 star film that has yet to receive the treatment it deserves. Technically speaking, this new DVD gets 3 stars, which is a big step up from the 1 star treatment it got in 2002. I'll dispense with the superlatives about Michael Mann's screenplay and direction and the performances of William Peterson, Tom Noonan and Brian Cox and concentrate on the merits of this new DVD edition. I became familiar with this film from a taped broadcast from The Movie Channel back in 1987 which Mann also reworked from the original theatrical release by adding the same footage included in this new edition. The only difference is the deletion of a scene in which Graham has a brief interview with the director of the institution in which Dr.Lecktor is imprisoned. In that scene, Graham becomes irritated when asked about his ability to get inside of Lecktor's fantasies. It's not an important scene, but it does help convey Graham's discomfort with the talent that makes him such an asset to the FBI. The scenes which Mann added both to that TMC release and this new edition are welcome improvements.
There is a notice at the beginning of this edition advising that some of the footage is of less than optimum quality due to some inferior source material for scenes that were not included in the theatrical version. That's an understatement. The image quality through 95% of this film is very good. However, several shots are of VHS quality and a few look like they were shot through cheesecloth. In the director's commentary, Mann explains this dissapointing result. But it's by far the best version available. Especially since the 2 versions released by Anchor Bay in 2002(the same distributor responsible for this new edition)are so awful.
How many fans of this film noticed that the theatrical version released in 2002, which claimed to be widescreen, was not? I thought something looked strange, so I compared it to the tape I'd made from TMC 15 yrs. prior, which was of course in standard full screen (1.33:1) format. I found that the left & right borders of the image stopped at exactly the same point and that image which appeared at the top and bottom of the frame of the VHS was covered by the black bars on the DVD. I was amazed & appalled; they'd taken a full screen original and plastered black bars over the top & bottom and pawned it off as widescreen. The Director's Cut that was simultaneously released had the worst image quality I've ever seen on DVD. I returned my copy for a refund.
This new edition actually is widescreen. The extras are only so-so. There's the usual theatrical trailer and production stills. Michael Mann's commentary is interesting at times, but doesn't provide much insight into the movie making experience. Unless forgotten original film negatives of the added scenes are found in some studio storeroom, it's unlikely that there will ever be a better version of this excellent film. In spite of the technical flaws, this disc is a must-have for any "avid fan".
5.0 out of 5 stars Smell Yourself....!,
This film kinda took me by surprise as being one of those films of which I remember most of the lines of the antagonists. Brian Cox as Hannibal Lecter I think was more menancing than Anthony Hopkins portrayal. The incorporation of rock music (easy rock to heavy metal)places this movie as a definite eighties classic. Not gory or flashy with special effects, this film plays more on psychological themes...well obviously. There's no glorification of the killer or too much philosophizes on why the killer "the tooth fairy" kills. It's a simple yet complex film, that's a lot better than it is generally credited as being.
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Manhunter [Blu-ray] (Bilingual) [Import] (Blu-ray - 2011)