Blu-Ray Rating: ***1/2

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Read Amber Wilkinson's film review of Manhunter

This 25th anniversary edition of the film has certainly scrubbed up well - a fact you can clearly see if you watch the "director's preferred version" of the film also featured on this disc, which contains a handful of additional scenes that look nowhere near as great. The colours - so important in Mann's films - have plenty of 'pop' but the texture of the film has been retained. The audio mix is fine, if unremarkable. It's interesting to note that the cover art features the Tooth Fairy in a Red Dragon tattoo... an aspect that actually doesn't appear in the film itself, as Mann explains in the extras.

The main extra here is the commentary on Mann's "preferred version" of the film. It doesn't differ greatly from the original theatrical release, although there are one or two additional moments of 'softer' emotion, including a scene with one of the killer's intended victims. The runtimes are almost identical and the brushed-up look of the theatrical cut is certainly preferrable. Mann's commentary is mildly diverting, although not as detailed as some might like. He talks a lot about the characters but the more interesting moments come when he addresses the shoot itself.

Copy picture

It's particularly interesting to hear how he booked the entire crew onto a commercial flight just so he could film a crucial scene and it's also revealing to hear that it was Brian Dennehy who originally suggested Brian Cox (at that point a TV stalwart rather than a Hollywood name) for the role of Hannibal. Speaking about the character of Lecktor he says: "He's so charismatic, I wanted the audience to almost quite not get enough of him." An intention that certainly pays off. Patient commentary track listeners will be rewarded with quite a bit of insight but there's also quite a bit of less engaging waffle.

Inside Manhunter, meanwhile, is an excellent - if brief at 17 minutes - feature, originally included on Anchor Bay's Special Edition some years back. It features all the main cast - William Petersen, Tom Noonan, Joan Allen and Brian Cox - offering insights to their characters and Mann's style of "obsessive", "laser-focused" direction. Cox is the most enjoyable of the contributors, although Noonan also offers some gems.

The Manhunter Look - A Conversaion With Dante Spinotti is a 10-minute natter - also originally on the Anchor Bay edition - about the film with the cinematographer. He offers a good grounding both in the colour scheme of the film and an indication of some of the difficulties they faced.

The package is completed by a trailer. It might not hold the wealth of extras carried on some of the recent StudioCanal Blu-ray releases but this is nevertheless a solid release that rightly celebrates this 80s classic.

Reviewed on: 04 Oct 2011
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Manhunter packshot
A scarred FBI agent tracks a serial killer.
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Product Code: OPTBD 1311

Region: 0

Ratio: 1.66/Video BD50/AVC/24p

Sound: Stereo PCM 2.0, DTS HD

Extras: The Manhunter Look, director

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