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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover



Starring: William Petersen, Kim Greist, Joan Allen and Brian Cox
Optimum Home Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 18
Available 26 September 2011

Will Graham is an ex-crime scenes investigator, who retired after catching and imprisoning Dr Hannibal Lector. He was stabbed but affected by a greater extent after trying to put himself in the mind of Lector and as a result spending a short time in a mental facility. His friend and colleague, Jack Crawford, persuades him to return and head the investigation into a new serial killer, dubbed by insiders as The Tooth Fairy. After visiting the latest crime scene, Will visits Lector in jail in order to re-enter the required mindset, but Lector immediately begins to play mind games with him. When it is discovered that the killer has corresponded with Lector, Will sets up a sting with himself as the target. However, the plan goes disastrously wrong, and Will is left with only a few hours left before the next full moon killing...

I have fond memories of this film from the 1970s. Red Dragon, upon which this film was based, was by far the best book from Thomas Harris, no subsequent book involving these characters coming close. Similarly, this film knocks spots off those films which followed: the vastly overrated The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, and the inevitable Red Dragon inferior remake. This film, looking crisp and new on Blu-ray, simply exudes style. The direction by Michael Mann, is meticulous in making everything look slightly off-kilter. In each scene he uses a piece of architecture or furniture and has it take over the shot - even filming at table height or at acute angles on the street.

Also, the book has been expertly transposed, losing none of its tautness. There’s a constant feeling of time running out, highlighted by tints of colour indicating the present feeling portrayed. The acting is pretty much spot on - particularly Brian Cox as Hannibal, and William Peterson (of CSI) as Will Graham. You genuinely want to slap the reporter, and that’s the sign of good characterisation. We are more than halfway into the film before we see anything of the lifestyle of the killer and his tentative relationship with a blind woman, which soon turns sour.

This 25th Anniversary Edition contains the Original Theatrical Cut, and the Director’s Cut. There are a couple of nice special features too: The Manhunter Look featurette, and the Inside Manhunter featurette.


Ty Power

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