Manhunter is chronologically the first Hannibal Lecter story and also the first movie in the series. It is vastly different from its remake Red Dragon (Anthony Hopkins, Ed Norton, Ralph Fiennes 2002) and the least seen in this thriller series. Manhunter is available as part of The Hannibal Lecter Collection Blu-ray set with Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal,
Manhunter stars William Petersen (later of CSI fame) as FBI agent Will Graham. Graham is in semi-retirement after an unexplained traumatic experience. He is cajoled back by his boss Jack Crawford (Dennis Farina) to find a serial killer dubbed the Tooth Fairy. This thriller begins very cold first with the colors director Michael Mann uses and then with the tone Will Graham uses throughout most of this thriller. Manhunter is lots of style, little substance. Brian Cox is also very banal as Hannibal Lecktor.
Having read Red Dragon and seen the 2002 movie, it is hard to then get into this first of 3 Blu-ray movies on The Hannibal Lecter Collection. The movie lacks the energy and tension of both the book and the second adaptation. Director Michael Mann’s Miami Vice TV series was halfway through its run when he made this movie and the Miami Vice stylistics really take a lot away.
Petersen fails to make Will Graham an interesting character but then again all the other actors also fail to do so with theirs. Michael Mann fails to tell you what exactly happened to the tabloid journalist.
The Hannibal Lecter Collection Blu-ray set is really for serious fans of the Cannibal only. Both Manhunter and Hannibal (directed by Ridley Scott and starring Julianne Moore and Anthony Hopkins) are lesser offerings than Silence of the Lambs.