Bringing Hannibal Lector to life....this is just the beginning.
This was a very good movie.
An excellent thriller...and very 80s at that!
After seeing "Manhunter" and "Silence of the Lambs" I read "Red Dragon," which is the basis for "Manhunter." The novel explains the sequence of events that take place to slowly determine the identity of the killer. In "Manhunter" it seemed just a bit harder to follow the sequence of clues that finally lead to the killer. Maybe that is the reason why this film, the first of the Hannibal Lector series, failed at the box office.
Where to start. Well, T for "trash" is about as good a beginning as any.
This movie is so pathetically dated it goes beyond laughable, full circle to excruciating pain. I would have thought it was released in the 70s, it is so bad. 1986! 80's movies are known for being a genre within a genre by themselves, but this movie destroys a decade of film.
I understand Hollywood tried to make William Petersen a sex-idol, and failed. No wonder. Michael Mann spent, what seemed like hours, on the iconic "still", showing Petersen staring out yonder as some un-voiced rage. Spent so long that one has to wonder if Michael Mann thought the entire world was made up of idiots. I can picture him asking himself, "Is 40 seconds long enough for the audience to get the significance of what just transpired? 50 seconds?"
The writers, who took this from book to screen adaptation, should also share on the blame, and collectively flogged.
To think that IMDB rates it 7.2 out of 10, Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 94% (clearly the rating system involves heavy use of both opiates and LSD), and moviefone a 78%. Comical. Truthfully, reading those ratings were more entertaining than this movie.
The movie itself is a suspenseful thriller. The musical soundtrack does not fit the film at all. Give me a break. Playing an Iron Butterfly song is totally absurd during the thrilling conclusion of the film. It simply does not fit the movie or what is happening on screen. Follow this song with another rock song that goes nowhere at the ending credits part and you have basically reduced a four star movie to a two. All the music in this movie goes nowhere and does not fit. Its like they turned the musical score selection over to a 13 year old who decides that these songs are really cool! Not!!!
THIS IS !!THE!! HANNIBAL LECTER!!!! ANTHONY HOPKIN`S LECTER IS FLASHING, FLAMBOYANT, LIKE AN UPRIGHT COBRA WITH ITS HOOD SPREAD OR A TIMBER RATTLER WITH ITS TAIL GOING FULL BLAST, BLATANTLY OBVIOUS. BRIAN COX`S LECTER: SUBTLE, UNDER THE RADAR, AND PUMPING FROM YOU INFORMATION WITHOUT YOU REALIZING IT. I CAN SEE SOME ARROGANT PSYCHOLOGY PROFESSOR PROCLAIMING ABOUT COX`S LECTER WHAT HE WOULD NEVER SAY ABOUT HOPKIN`S: "THERE`S BEEN SOME TERRIBLE MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE! THIS INTELLEGENT MAN IS PERFECTLY SANE! AND I PLAN TO RALLY ALL MY FELLOW ACADEMICS (AND SEVERAL BIG NAME CELEBRATIES) TO HAVE HIM SET FREE!"
ALSO COMPARE THE 'INTERVIEW' SCENE BETWEEN WILL AND LECTER IN 'RED DRAGON' TO 'MANHUNTER'. 'R.D.': WILL CAN BREEZILY WALK AWAY FROM LECTER, WHO IS CONFINED IN A CELL I COULD CHEERFULLY RESIDE IN FOR THE REST OF MY DAYS. "M.H.": GRAHAM IS LOCKED IN WITH LECTER, UNABLE TO GET OUT UNTIL SOMEBODY UNLOCKS THE DOOR FROM THE OUTSIDE. AND THIS CELL? LECTER PACING SPACE IS HALF OF "R.D." ,AND THE EPITOME OF SENSORY DEPRIVATION. IN LESS THAN A WEEK I BE TRYING TO BEAT MY BRAINS OUT AGAINST THE CHALK-WHITE CINDER BLOCK WALLS!
Before Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon, there was Manhunter, the prequel to Silence of the Lambs and the actual film Red Dragon is mirrored after. Some of the content of the novel has been changed or omitted, but it's more true to the novel than Red Dragon. William Peterson of CSI fame plays Will and it's interesting to watch him follow the clues. This is not the likable Hannibal from the film "Hannibal" but an emotionless psychopath who plots with a serial killer to kill Will Graham who put him in prison. This used to be my favorite version, but lately I prefer Red Dragon. It's good to watch both to pick up the pieces that were omitted from either version.
This the tamer version of Red Dragon is a bit more artistic and certainly less gory than the followup. Michael Mann spends more time on the artistry of the hunt than on the deranged killer and in fact doesn't dwell much on the reasons he kills. Hannibal doesn't get enough screen time in this version and is very secondary to the action. Silence of the Lambs will remain the classic but this is one take on very nasty people worth viewing for the quality of the screenplay and the filming.
Though overshadowed by the later films in this series, this was the first Hannibal Lecter film. Based on Thomas Harris's "Red Dragon," the title was apparently changed by the producer who was afraid it would sound like a Bruce Lee movie or be confused with the recent bomb "Year of the Dragon." "Manhunter" is a pretty lame title. Directed by Michael Mann ("Heat," "Public Enemies"), this is a little slow moving and Mann's stylized filming sometimes gets in the way, but it's a well-crafted and understated thriller. William "CSI" Petersen is serial killer hunter Will Graham, Dennis Farina's Jack Crawford (played by Scott Glenn in "Silence of the Lambs"), Brian Cox is Lecter, and Tom Noonan is the killer known as the Tooth Fairy. It's less bloody than the other Lecter films, but still tense. Noonan is particularly creepy. The very 80s score can be annoying. You should also check out the series "Hannibal." The original title references a William Blake painting.
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