Manhunter (film)

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Hannibal Lecter trilogy

Manhunter (1986; see also 1986 in film) is a film based on Thomas Harris' novel Red Dragon. Directed by Michael Mann, it features Brian Cox as the popular character Hannibal Lecter (spelled "Lecktor" in the film, the only time in the series), and stars William Petersen, Joan Allen, Dennis Farina and Tom Noonan. The cinematographer/director of photography was Dante Spinotti.

Petersen plays Will Graham, a former FBI agent who captured the infamous Lecter and was almost killed in the process; he is so traumatized by the event that he retires from the FBI. His former partner, Jack Crawford, calls him out of retirement to help find a killer called "The Tooth Fairy" who is murdering entire families. Graham is a profiler who has an uncanny ability to get into the mind of a killer and think as he does. Graham visits Lecter in prison in order to help get back in the state of mind necessary to empathize with a psychopath.</p>

There is a subplot about the Tooth Fairy himself, a tortured soul named Francis Dolarhyde (played by Noonan in a critically acclaimed performance) falling in love with a blind coworker, interfering with his killing spree.

The movie has a distinctive 1980s, "Miami Vice" feel to it, with the homes featuring white minimalist decor and a soundtrack that is heavy on the synthesizers. The movie was originally a box office failure, but after its sequel The Silence Of The Lambs was released in 1991, it experienced something of a revival on video and later as a DVD release. In 2002, another adaptation of the book, titled Red Dragon, was released. It was more faithful to the novel but included more screen-time for Lecter's character. A significant number of Lecter fans regard Manhunter as being the better adaptation of the book. Whether Anthony Hopkins or Brian Cox is the better Hannibal Lecter is a topic of frequent and often passionate discussion on various internet forums, particularly at the Internet Movie Database.

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