Lester’s review published on Letterboxd:
So I definitely need to brush up on some more Michael Mann because this movie is so good that I'm pretty sure this guy can do just about anything. This is definitely better than The Silence of the Lambs and I haven't seen any of those sequels but I'll just assume the rest of them aren't nearly as good as this movie either. Expected something like a straightforward, exciting true-crime style thriller, instead I got a highly stylized procedural/psychological cat-and-mouse murder mystery with Noir flourishes. Most importantly for this challenge, it works remarkably well as a Horror movie. Great shit.
In its own way this movie is a total assault for the senses. From the very first scene this movie is absolutely dripping with style; everything looks and sounds so cool....especially the bitchin' 80's synth score and the color schemes. Fell in love with this film's photography instantly. The use of color to establish emotional connections and convey mood (the intense blue tint in Molly's bed, the blinding white in Lecktor's cell, the use of green during the harrowing Dollarhyde scenes) is utilized to maximum dramatic effect and the results are frequently otherworldly. The dialogue is also razor sharp, filled with probing psychological exchanges with an ear for fine detail to complement some truly remarkable performances, especially William Petersen. As for Brian Cox vs Anthony Hopkins as to who was the better Hannibal, well, maybe a rewatch is in order.
Manhunter also probably has some of the most realistic--and most meaningful use of--police procedural-type scenes I've seen. This movie doesn't get enough attention for its comparably subdued depiction of on-screen violence, and truthfully it doesn't need all that much of it when the scenes of Petersen's emotionless, detailed narrative of the graphic murders and haunting home video footage are enough to send chills down your spine. A million detective shows in the decades since have emulated the calculated style of this movie's investigation scenes but none of them were even close to matching its operatic flair....nor did they even try.