Best of… Series – 1986 – Manhunter

Manhunter (Michael Mann, 1986)

I saw this one back in high school or college and hated it. Of course, the reason I hated it was because it wasn’t ‘as cool as The Silence of the Lambs’. Rewatching this with a different mind frame  was refreshing. This is definitely a solid thriller genre piece. It was a little more plot-heavy than I thought it was going to be, as I guess I was hoping for a bit more of the poetic nature of Miami Vice. There were several scenes that take place at dusk/night, which Mann seems to have a fantastic eye for because these are the most beautifully shot scenes in the film. The colors are extremely vivid and even eerie, matching the tone of the film perfectly.

The film’s tone is generally smooth. There are no cheap scare tactics, no cheesy interactions between cop and killer, etc. The film is mostly about the toll is takes on a detective to live this kind of life. There is a short dream sequence in the film that is amazing, which probably does the most in bringing this to life. Parts of the film come off as dated, which might be one of the reasons I dismissed this when I was younger. The music is often bad (and is used way too often to try to imitate suspense), and the special effects/action sequences are kind of funny to watch. But, hey, it’s a product of its time period. For the most part, this doesn’t distract from the film’s tone, cinematography, and character psychology.  9.25/10


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