This review is in association with THE LAMB's director's chair.
Director: Michael Mann (1986)
Starring: William Petersen, Tom Noonan, Joan Allen, Brian Cox
Find it: IMDB
Gil Grissom's pre-CSI days pit him head-to-head against William Blake quoting pantyhose-faced serial killer The Tooth Fairy (Tom Noonan) and his very own demons in the shape of Doctor Hannibal Lecktor (Cox). This is Red Dragon alright - the only version of which you ever need to watch.
Unlike Brett Ratner and his lazy "here's Hopkins, now I can just sit back and have a nap" style of direction, Michael Mann knows how to direct the hell out of a crime movie. The cinematography is all light cues and filters, disconcertingly brighter than we're used to from movies of this variety.
Mann has made quite the career out of pitting two quite different but very interesting forces against one another. Heat bought us Al Pacino vs Robert De Niro. He put Tom Cruise against Jamie Foxx in Collateral - and then made it not shit. Tom Cruise's hair is ridiculous in that movie, but it's to Mann's testament that Cruise's hair is the only ridiculous thing. Manhunter has William Petersen hunting Tom Noonan, and both men are fantastic. Petersen's Will Graham is the template for his CSI character, but he does it so well that it's not hard to see why he proved so popular as Gil Grissom. Noonan is at once intimidating and pitiful as Graham's prey. He's a right bastard, but you can't help but feel for him as his doomed relationship with Reba (Allen) progresses. Also, he looks utterly terrifying. Tattooed and with pantyhose on his head, I certainly wouldn't want to meet Tom Noonan's Dolarhyde down a dark alley.
Manhunter falters a little towards the end, losing the book's finale in favour of a fiery shootout, unworthy of both hunter and hunted. But it's still a very powerful movie, more interesting to me than The Silence Of The Lambs and most certainly Brett Ratner's dull, blatantly obvious remake/adaptation. After a disappointing reception upon release, Manhunter has since become regarded as something of a cult classic. Rightly so. This one is definitely worth Hunting down, Man.