Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Hannibal Week: Manhunter
To start, I love this movie. Michael Mann is one of my favorite directors and this 80's masterpiece is a prime example of why. It's very of it's time with the style, fashion, music and attitude which may seem dated to others but makes it all the more memorable for me since I love the 80's. Like all of his pictures, Mann had his cast do heavy research for the film with Petersen working with real F.B.I. profilers but eventually being told to back off so he wouldn't become desensitized to it. If you've watched the series, you see that Graham and Hannibal start off as professional associates, maybe even friends, before Hannibal starts pushing Graham to the edge and frames him for several murders. I'm not sure how the book plays things out but I will soon find out as I started reading Harris' novel just today.
talking to himself in the reflection of a window with rain pouring down outside. Or, in maybe the film's greatest scene, when they find The Tooth Fairy's home, Graham eschews waiting for back up, charges the house and jumps through a frigging window. Mann stages all of the procedural and action bits with facts, force and energy. Vibrant colors help add to the visual stimulus of the picture as well as help convey it's theme of duality. Throw in lots of wide shots of Graham brooding, an awesomely ominous 80's synth score, blaring 80's tracks, tons of pastel shirts, lots of square ties and you've got yourself an engaging, stylistic and influential time capsule for the ages.
Upon release, Manhunter was met with mixed reviews and meager box office, taking in just $8.6 million on a reported $15 million budget. The film has lived on though through it's connection to the hit adaptation of The Silence of the Lambs, the sequel Hannibal, a young Hannibal film and now the television series. Mann would go on to direct critical and box office hits like The Last of the Mohicans and Heat while solidifying himself as one of America's greatest directors. Petersen preceded Manhunter with another 80's classic, To Live in Die in L.A. for The Exorcist director William Friedkin as a role model badass, hot dog Secret Service agent. It too would be met with indifference but go on to become a cult hit and Petersen would then make a huge splash on CBS' series C.S.I.
The following video has been edited to remove a use of a critically placed curse word: