Manhunter (1986)


Crime | Thriller


Michael Mann




William Petersen, Tom Noonan, Dennis Farina, Kim Greist, Brian Cox, Joan Allen, Stephen Lang


Former FBI profiler Will Graham (William Petersen) returns to service to pursue a deranged serial murderer (Tom Hoonan) named "the Tooth Fairy" by the media.


I haven't read the book, I didn't know the plot to the film, and I watched it because it is Hannibal Lecter's first time on the screen. And I was disappointed because Hannibal Lector is only a minor character, but at the same time I wasn't disappointed because "Manhunter" is a very absorbing, engaging and suspenseful thriller. Pretty much how every thriller should be.

Based on Thomas Harris's novel "Red Dragon", the plot is tremendously appealing and puts in comparison a witty and sharp FBI agent and a devious, psychopathic serial killer. And by "comparison" I mean for real. The first half of the film focuses on Will Graham, the FBI agent, his inner demons, and his quest to catch the killer. The second half is the story of Francis Dolarhyde, the serial killer, who isn't a complete monster.

That's when you can see Michael Mann's ability, because he brilliantly goes from one story to the other. The transition is extremely smooth and you almost don't even notice it. Also Mann managed to make a film that shocks and disgusts the audience but at the same time develops the character carefully so that the climax is even better.

And then there is the cast. William Petersen does a wonderful job as Will Graham, and he finds the right balance between seeming haunted and detached. Joan Allen does a great job as always as the blind woman who falls in love with Dolarhyde. But the star of the film is arguably Tom Noonan who delivers a fascinating and frightening performances as the serial killer.


  1. I have heard of this film but never knew much about it. sounds like a good movie and great review!

  2. I've been meaning to see this for many years, probably since I first saw Silence of the Lambs all those years ago. For one reason, or another, I just never got around to it. Thanks for the reminder. I'm glad it's a good film and I'm looking forward to finally watching it.