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Manhunter

Where to Watch Manhunter

R
1986

Manhunter is a suspenseful crime thriller directed by Michael Mann and released in 1986. The film stars William Petersen as Will Graham, a retired FBI profiler who is brought back into the fold to track down a vicious serial killer known as the Tooth Fairy. The movie is a cinematic adaptation of Thomas Harris' novel Red Dragon, predating more famous adaptations of the same book. The film is set in different parts of the United States, beginning in Atlanta where the retiring Will Graham is visited by his former boss, Jack Crawford, who persuades him to help catch a killer he tracked down years ago nicknamed the Tooth Fairy. Graham’s expert profiling led to the arrest of the serial killer, but the capture left Graham deeply traumatized and now he’s hesitant to come out of retirement. The movie is heavily character-driven, with Petersen giving an impressive performance as Graham, depicting him with his own psychological and mental battles. Graham suffered a nervous breakdown and now lives with his wife and son in Florida where he restores boat engines. The fear of what he had to endure during his last profiling job consuming him. To get Graham to take the case in Atlanta, it takes Crawford to guilt him into helping others by describing the horrific murders inflicted by the Tooth Fairy upon families with alarmingly routine precision. After some convincing, Will agrees and visits the FBI Behavioral Science Unit to review the case files, gain more information about the killer and then reconstructs like pieces of a well-done puzzle in his mind, trying to get into the serial killer’s head to help find him. At the same time, the movie introduces the killer played by Tom Noonan who takes on the role of the grand serial killer on the big screen. Noonan portrays Francis Dolarhyde aka “The Tooth Fairy”, an ultra-meticulous and seemingly mild-mannered photo developer who becomes infatuated with a co-worker, Reba McClane (played by Joan Allen). The cinematography in Manhunter is something that really stands out with its stylish 80s lighting and color grading. Mann's use of blues in lighting sets a mood of suspense throughout the movie, building anxiety and fear for the viewer as well as Will’s character. It's those little details that make Manhunter a memorable film noir, and it still holds up even 30 years after its release. The story is compellingly put together, creating a suspenseful atmosphere that could send chills down the spine of even the most courageous viewer. The intriguing premise is handled expertly, adding layers to both the characters and the plot. The movie portrays the "serial killer profiler" genre before it became overused on television and cinema. The supporting cast adds to the overall depth of the movie, with Dennis Farina who plays Jack Crawford providing some great moments with his subtle mannerisms and clever humor. Stephen Lang delivers a solid performance as the rude journalist Freddy Lounds. And finally, there's Kim Greist, who plays the wife of Will Graham, often questioning his psychological well-being. The film is not without its faults though, as the pace is sometimes slow when the story moves away from Will Graham’s inner psyche, and sometimes the plot can be confusing as the different perspectives could get more than you can handle. Overall, Manhunter is a must-watch for fans of crime and thriller genre movies. Michael Mann’s direction is sharp and engaging, highlighting an impressive cast that delivers a great portrayal of complex characters that add to the overall storytelling experience. The cinematography stands the test of time, proving that true art can truly never die.

Manhunter is a Crime, Horror, Thriller movie released in 1986. It has a runtime of 124 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.2. It also holds a MetaScore of 75.

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7.2/10
75/100
Director
Michael Mann
Stars
William Petersen, Kim Greist, Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Dennis Farina, Stephen Lang, Tom Noonan
Also starring William Petersen
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