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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 when the 'Tooth Fairy' will ... Written by
Basically the most underrated thriller of all time.
Besides the fact that it was released without much hoopla in 1986, and that it was recently remade(the same exact movie except for the end) as Red Dragon, Manhunter is undoubtedly the most overlooked movie of the past 20 years. The plot is tremendous, Mann's direction is outstanding, and the acting(especially Noonan) is equally amazing. What Mann realized while making this film is that a thriller was not just meant to shock and disgust the audience but to develop the characters carefully so that there is an even greater sense of anticipation for the climax of the movie than there otherwise would be. Recent thrillers are clearly lacking in the character development that made movies like Manhunter and Silence of the Lambs so good. Its a shame that Red Dragon had to be made, since it is basically a strait ripoff of Manhunter except for a different ending which is much worse than the original and way too predictable. Anyone who thinks Red Dragon was a good movie should watch Manhunter and compare the two. If you try this you'll see that there is no comparison. Tom Noonan's performance alone is worth the watch.
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