Mann's vividly romantic fetishization of mirrors, fish tanks, parking structures, trees, fences, supermarket shelves, mouths, skylines, and boat engines, combined with the dreamy synth score and the hard-boiled efficiency of the procedural aspects, plus Dennis Farina's mustache - perhaps the greatest serial killer movie of all time, its occasional ugliness offset by not just the irresistible visual style but also the unapologetic creepiness of William Petersen's titular dudetrapper. "Just you and me now, sport," he ominously intones - to his own reflection.
Hampered by a drab, uninspired palette and maybe the most obnoxious film score of the 1990s and also its own inherent ludicrousness and, for all its stabs at pathos (including but not limited to Cage crumpling into his wife's arms at the end and sobbing "Save me, save me"), the saddest element on screen is undoubtedly Catherine Keener trying valiantly to play the film's unplayable aforementioned wife character - or maybe Joaquin Phoenix's leather pants.
Elevated, however, by Cage's hangdog…
"In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”
He didn’t say any more, but we’ve always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that. In consequence, I’m inclined…