Enter the mind of a serial killer… you may never come back.
Will Graham is a former FBI agent who recently retired to Florida with his wife Molly and their young son. Graham was a ‘profiler’; one who profiles criminal’s behavior and tries to put his mind into the minds of criminals to examine their thoughts while visiting crime scenes. Will is called out of his self-imposed retirement at the request of his former boss Jack Crawford to help the FBI catch an elusive serial killer, known to the press as the ‘Tooth Fairy’, who randomly kills whole families in their houses during nights of the full moon and leaves bite marks on his victims.
To try to search for clues to get into the mind of the killer, Will has occasional meetings with Dr. Hannibal Lecktor, a charismatic but very dangerous imprisoned serial killer that Will captured years earlier which nearly drove him insane from the horrific encounter that nearly cost Will’s life. With some help and hindrance, Will races against the clock before the next full moon.
Manhunter is a 1986 American crime horror film based on the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. Written and directed by Michael Mann, it stars William Petersen as FBI profiler Will Graham. Also featured are Tom Noonan as serial killer Francis Dollarhyde, Dennis Farina as Graham’s FBI superior Jack Crawford, and Brian Cox as incarcerated killer Hannibal Lecktor. The film focuses on Graham coming out of retirement to lend his talents to an investigation on Dollarhyde, a killer known as “The Tooth Fairy.” In doing so, he must confront the demons of his past and meet with Lecktor, who nearly counted Graham amongst his victims.
Manhunter focuses on the forensic work carried out by the FBI to track down killers and shows the long-term effects that cases like this have on profilers such as Graham, highlighting the similarities between him and his quarry. The film features heavily stylized use of color to convey this sense of duality, and the nature of the characters’ similarity has been explored in academic readings of the film. It was the first film adaptation of Harris’ Hannibal Lecter novels, as well as the first adaptation of Red Dragon, which later became the basis for a film of the same name in 2002.
Directed by: Michael Mann
Starring: William Petersen, Kim Greist, Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Dennis Farina, Tom Noonan, Stephen Lang, Michele Shay, Michael Talbott
Screenplay by: Michael Mann
Production Design by: Mel Bourne
Cinematography by: Dante Spinotti
Film Editing by: Dov Hoenig
Costume Design by: Colleen Atwood
Art Direction by: Jack Blackman
Music by: The Reds, Michel Rubini
Distributed by: De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
Release Date: August 15, 1986