Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 120 minutes
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
Agent Jack Crawford FBI:
You feel sorry for him.
As a child, my heart bleeds for him. Someone took a little boy and turned him into a monster. But as an adult... as an adult, he's irredeemable. He butchers whole families to fulfill some sick fantasy. As an adult, I think someone should blow the sick f*** out of his socks.
Look, admit we struck out this month. The lear jet is standing by. The basic lab stuff is on it. You, Zeller, Jimmy Price, the photographer. Anywhere he hits, we can be there in an hour and fifteen minutes. We get the call, we roll. The scene will be fresh. Fresher then we've ever had it.
It's not over yet.
Oh, for Christ's sake! It's a foregone conclusion! It's 11:30 P.M., the full moon is happening tonight. Give it up. Forget this month. It's too damn late.
I gave it up! Till you showed up with pictures of two dead families, knowing God damn well that I'd image families three, four, five and six. Right?
You're f***ing right I did! And I'd do it again!
Great! But don't talk to me about late, pal! I'll tell you when it's too f***ing late! Until then, we go as late as I wanna take it!