Monday, September 1, 2008

Manhunter/Red Dragon

Manhunter (1986)
Red Dragon (2002)

Ranking: Yes
Slightly Trashy

Seeing as autumn's coming up, I don't feel quite so bad about sitting inside all the time, and am going to make an effort to start blogging again regularly. I have been writing stuff out on paper (totally old school) and am only now getting around to typing it up here.

Anyway, instead of taking the time to review each of these movies separately, I'm doing the lazy thing and killing both of them with one carefully planned shot to the head.

Both are based on the novel by Thomas Harris - Manhunter is done as a stand alone film. Red Dragon capitalizes on the Hannibal Lecter franchise.

The films are about a federal agent (William Peterson/Edward Norton, respectively) who is called out of early retirement to help capture a psychopathic serial killer (Tom Noonan/Ralph Fiennes). In order to do so, he must recruit the help of another psychopathic serial killer who almost killed him years before and who is now locked away in a dungeon (Brian Cox/Anthony Hopkins).

After watching the other related films, it's kind of interesting to see Brian Cox's interpretation of the role. He's not in it very much (as it should be), but he's effectively creepy and remarkably subdued.

Red Dragon has an overload of Hannibal Lecter stuff, a great deal of which doesn't really help the plot in any significant way. The movie isn't about that character at all and besides, the more they show of Anthony Hopkins, the more attention they draw to the fact that he's ten years older than he was in Silence of the Lambs which is set many years later. Apparently, prison was very good to him.

Moving on. I'm going to try to avoid rambling about Ralph Fiennes (I frigging love Ralph Fiennes). He was very creepy. Tom Noonan was equally scary and disturbing in Manhunter but they seemed to spend less time on his character in that one (maybe. Maybe not - the films are about the same length, give or take a few minutes. Where does it come from?).

But despite all this meaningless drivel, there are only two reasons why I enjoyed Red Dragon marginally more than Manhunter.

a) I like Edward Norton more than William Peterson. Edward Norton seems like such a loser. William Peterson is like Captain Amazing from the '80s, which brings me to my second point...

b) 1986/2002. Manhunter is totally saturated with the '80s. The pastel colour schemes, the ear rending music, the fucking hairstyles. Honest to Jesus. There's also the fact that Red Dragon is loaded with current stars, coz you know, that's important...

But both movies are quite interesting and probably deserve their own review but hey, I'm really lazy. What can I say? Plus I have an ass load of other stuff to review. Maybe I should start doing them two at a time...


Written and Directed by: Michael Mann, based on the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. Starring: William Peterson, Tom Noonan, Joan Allen, Kim Greist, Dennis Farina, Brian Cox, Benjamin Hendrickson, Frankie Faison.

Red Dragon
Directed by: Brett Ratner. Written by: Ted Tally based on the novel by Thomas Harris. Starring: Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson, Anthony Hopkins, Harvey Keitel, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony Heald, Frankie Faison.

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