The 80s-ness of a piece has never felt so oppressive, which is actually the best part of this film. The overheated visuals starkly contrast with the stilted acting and the cheeseball music choices add another element to this already stiflingly stylish brew. The plot is a dud, but I can see why this has attained something nearing cult status.
Maybe Petersen's stilted acting wasn't entirely his fault. In this early 1986 thriller, Michael Mann (known to emulate Bresson) might have been fine-tuning his intellectual but visceral filmmaking style. The obsessed hero would reappear in later Mann films—but he is here superseded by Brian Cox and Tom Noonan, both in better sync with Mann-Spinotti's moody, formalist images which also redeem some very bad 80s music.
Feels like Mann hadn't quite hit his stride; the filmmaking is great but the narrative falters. If this film is truly responsible for the spate of awful crime procedurals in the past 20 years, then colour me extra unimpressed. Also, it would seem that Mann's horrible taste in music has been a constant.
Frontloaded with feverish imagery & Brian Cox's amazing Lektor & Farina's mustache, this one loses gravity in the second half, largely due to some musical choices too embarrassing for the time-capsule. Plus the ending's rushed--I can't see how a film so otherwise sleek could be so poorly edited during its big climactic scene. Still, Manhunter's highs match Silence of the Lamb's.
Some obtrusive rock songs, but a mesmerizing, moody film. Mann's direction lingers on details, creating an atmosphere and giving all central character's dimension: Petersen subtly plays his character's inner turmoil to create a profound sense of anguish of past demons, while Noonan is a soft-spoken, lonely killer, and Cox is Hannibal sans Hopkins dark humor: more ice cold, less playful, but just as sinister.