Manhunter

Dir: Michael Mann
1986
I picked up the two-disc DVD of this at the rental store,
and made the boneheaded mistake of watching the original, clumsily edited version, completely oblivious to the fact that the other disc contained the remastered director’s cut. And after two hours of “Manhunter” I wasn’t going to watch it again.
A lot of critics regard this film highly, and like to drag it out in reference when they want to go on about how much they didn’t like “Hannibal” or whatever. And I can’t really say too much not having seen the director’s cut, but here Mann plays the serial killer genre as a straight police procedural, with much focus on the job of the profiler, played here by William Petersen, who often pounds his fist and addresses windows or televisions, vowing that he’ll find the killer before he does it again. Showing a profiler coming to conclusions in his head, showing the thought process itself, is difficult, but Mann does it well in a scene with Petersen and two television monitors. The music here is all wrong, either naff Yamaha DX-7 wanking or blaring “hard rock” stupidity.
I didn’t feel particularly gripped by the film, and the ending really fell apart in the editing room. But who knows what the director’s cut was like?
Brian Cox was okay as Hannibal Lecter, but maybe a bit too “normal”. He felt more like an imprisoned mafioso than a cannibal serial killer.

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