1986 thriller

Rating: 14/20

Plot: Retired FBI guy Will Graham, the guy who caught Hannibal Leckor, is yanked from the beach by his friend Dennis Farina to stop another serial killer known as the Tooth Fairy. To accomplish this, he has to get inside the killer's mind, something that apparently involves talking to himself a lot.

I suppose modern television crime shows like all the CSI's make this seem kind of tame. Some of the things I liked about this--an adequate amount of suspense, an intriguing bad guy or two, a really nice attention to detail as the investigation evolves--are things that I could see weekly on those shows. I guess. I never watch them. Manhunter gets pretty gloopy in the middle, taking more than a few incoherent turns along the way and nearly imploding. A silly denouement and an appallingly intense synthesizer score, like I imagine elevator music in hell to sound like, didn't help things. Neither did the cliche-stuffed main character played by William Petersen, a guy who apparently is on one of those CSI shows. There are far too many scenes with Petersen talking to his reflection, his television screen, or his tape recorder. Still, the story has that attention to detail that makes it really gripping, and the film's got more than enough style. The camera seems to have only one movement, but it's a good one, and there are a lot of great shots, my favorite being the first shot of the Tooth Fairy. Character actor Tom Noonan plays that character with a realistic creepiness. There's even something creepy about his posture. Brian Cox's Hannibal Lecktor might not be the best Hannibal Lecktor ever, but he's really good playing the always fascinating villain. This one might not have much depth, and there are definitely things that irritated me about it, but I'm still glad I watched it.

A bonus point was awarded for a Chris Elliott spotting. Unfortunately for my blog readers, Chris Elliott is to movies with "man" in the title as Puxatony Phil is to winter. When I spot Chris Elliott, that means six more weeks of movies with "man" in the title.

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