Tag Archives: Joan Allen

Manhunter (1986) Review

Time: 120 minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast:
William Petersen as Will Graham
Tom Noonan as Francis Dollarhyde
Dennis Farina as Jack Crawford
Kim Greist as Molly Graham
Brian Cox as Dr. Hannibal Lecktor
Joan Allen as Reba McClane
Stephen Lang as Freddy Lounds
Director: Michael Mann

FBI criminal profiler Will Graham (William L. Petersen) is called out of early retirement to assist on a serial murder case involving a killer known as the “Tooth Fairy” (Tom Noonan). Graham enlists the help of imprisoned serial killer — and cannibal — Dr. Hannibal Lecktor (Brian Cox), who is the reason Graham took an early retirement. Soon, Graham and the FBI are entangled in a deadly cat-and-mouse game between the Tooth Fairy, Lecktor and an interfering journalist (Stephen Lang).

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Manhunter is a movie I’d been meaning to get around to for some time. What I knew was that it was the first adaptation of a Hannibal Lecter book, that being of Red Dragon, and that it was directed by Michael Mann. I wanted to check it out, I like most of Mann’s movies (the ones I’ve seen at least), and it was the only live action Hannibal Lector adaption I hadn’t gotten around to yet. I will admit that although it’s decent, it didn’t completely work for me, and I do have my issues. Nonetheless I don’t regret watching it, and I think it’s worth a watch.

It is worth pointing out that Manhunter came well before the name Hannibal Lecter (or the other characters) was a cinematic household name. With this movie, they took the story of Red Dragon and took it in their own direction, and I at least admire that they wanted to do their own thing with it. I won’t hammer in my problems with how it’s different, just the ones where I find the changes made the story less compelling. It seems much more procedural and less psychological, and with that it didn’t really interest me as much. For the most part across its 2 hour runtime, Manhunter is well paced enough, but at times it can feel a little drawn out. The most disappointing part of the movie was the third act. The climax is an incredibly simple fight, even putting aside the fact that it was much different from how the book handled things, it was much less compelling and was simplified. While most of the movie was a bit of a slow burn, the climax of just being this conventional fight scene just didn’t fit in with the tone for me and felt really out of place.

William Peterson plays Will Graham, I thought Edward Norton was good in the Red Dragon movie as Graham but Peterson really seemed to embody what I imagined him to be in the books a little more. He seemed like a troubled person who really gets inside the killer’s mind, and that really seemed to take a toll on him. I really liked a lot of the ways that they portrayed him in the movie, like the possibility that he could go over the edge and turn into one of the killers that he’s hunting down. Hannibal Lecktor (not spelt as Lecter in this version) is played by Brian Cox, who receives as much screentime here as he did in the Red Dragon book (if not less), which is to say not very much. While I still love Mads Mikkelsen and Anthony Hopkins’s versions more, Cox’s version is no doubt unforgettable and one of my favourite parts of the movie. If you were to ask me what a real life version of Hannibal Lecter would be, I’d say it would be this version. He’s not as overtly charismatic as you’d expect, he’s a fast talker, and seems more natural, yet incredibly intelligent. Not overtly scary but nonetheless chilling in how real he feels. Tom Noonan plays the main killer Francis Dolarhyde/Tooth Fairy, surprisingly you don’t see him until much later on in the movie. It’s definitely a much more eerie version than other versions of the character on screen, and Noonan plays the role well. Joan Allen plays Reba, a blind woman who becomes a love interest of Dolarhyde. I wasn’t really a fan of how the relationship was handled, it felt so underdeveloped and you really felt nothing for it, so there wasn’t even any tension throughout. The movie and mini series definitely handled that aspect better. It’s hard not to spoil it, but let’s just say that there’s less conflict with Francis in this version, and so overall I just didn’t find it as interesting. He seemed to be at the same stage throughout the story, and he ended up being more interesting offscreen in the first half than he was when he was on screen. To the film’s credit, his presence in the first half of the movie was very effective and that was an aspect that was handled very well.

Michael Mann’s direction was one of the standout parts of the movie. If you’ve seen any of his other movies, you can tell just from the cinematography that he directed Manhunter. Despite the great look to the movie, some of the sets and production design at time was a little lacklustre. I’m aware this is the 80s and I didn’t necessarily expect the environments to be particularly flashy, but some of the surroundings looked kind of bland at points. The score for the most part worked but other aspects of the music were just silly, especially towards the last act with some horrendous song choices.

Manhunter is pretty good for what it is. As for how I feel about it compared to Red Dragon (the 2002 adaptation), the latter generally sticks closer to the book and storywise does things I like more than Manhunter. With that said, Manhunter has a lot of merit to it as well. It is separate from the book and it really is its own movie, and you have to be aware of that going in, I was and I liked it mostly for what it was. It’s directed pretty well by Michael Mann, the cast is good, and it was certainly an interesting take on the source material. I definitely recommend at least checking it out, even if you still like the other Hannibal adaptations more.

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) Review

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The Bourne Ultimatum

Time: 115 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
Julia Stiles as Nicky Parsons
David Strathairn as Noah Vosen
Scott Glenn as Ezra Kramer
Paddy Considine as Simon Ross
Édgar Ramírez as Paz
Albert Finney as Dr. Albert Hirsch
Joan Allen as Pamela “Pam” Landy
Director: Paul Greengrass

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) continues his international quest to uncover his true identity. From Russia to Europe to northern Africa to the United States, he must stay one step ahead of those who would capture or kill him before he has a chance to discover the truth.

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The Bourne Ultimatum is quite possibly the best film of the Bourne franchise. Like with the other films of the trilogy they are quite similar, regarding the action, acting story, etc. However I personally feel like this is the strongest out of the films by a little bit, maybe it’s just my personal preference. Imagine if Bourne Supremacy if it was a full on action movie and the issues with the shaky cam in that film were dealt with. This third instalment makes the Bourne trilogy one of the best film trilogies.

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This film is quite similar to the previous Bourne movies. So chances are, if you didn’t like the previous Bourne movies, you won’t like this one. Whereas Bourne Identity is a mystery movie and Bourne Supremacy is a thriller, Bourne Ultimatum is the best action movie out of all of them. This movie’s pace is quite fast, and doesn’t slow down a lot, even the smaller character moments or moments of dialogue feel like they progress the plot, in a good way. There is no moment that feels unnecessary or wasted. There is no pointless romance thrown into the movie just because, even when Damon is paired with Julia Stiles, the film doesn’t waste time on any romance. Greengrass also did well to never drop the tension throughout the film. The conclusion was also great and satisfying, when we find out what happened with Jason Bourne and why and how he became an assassin.

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Matt Damon is once again excellent in the role of Jason Bourne. He continues to be believable as this assassin whether he’s in action scenes or the fewer smaller moments. The supporting cast also are great. In the previous film Joan Allen was trying to hunt down Bourne with Brian Cox, both with different reasons. Joan Allen returns to her same role in the movie, along with David Stratharin, who’s also trying to find Jason Bourne. Both of them are truly great in the movie. Other actors like Julia Stiles, Scott Glenn, Paddy Considine, Edgar Ramirez and Albert Finney are also great in their roles.

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In the Bourne Supremacy, while for the most part the shaky cam was handled well, there were a couple scenes which weren’t handled the best. Greengrass doesn’t have any of those moments in Ultimatum. I can’t think of any moment in this film that didn’t work. As I said, this is the best action movie out of the three Bourne films. This has a wide variety of action scenes, there’s motorbike chases, foot chases, car chases, fight scenes, you name it. Speaking of fight scenes, there is a brutal fight between Jason and a character named Desh which is the best fight in the series yet and is one of the best scenes in the franchise yet. Greengrass massively improved the way he shot his fight scenes since Supremacy.

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The Bourne Ultimatum is truly a great Bourne movie, with its fast paced yet well filmed action, excellent acting from its talented cast and well told story. Even though as I said many times this is very similar to the other movies in the series, this might actually be my favourite film in the series. We’ll just have to see if Jason Bourne this year can top what they did with The Bourne Ultimatum. It won’t be an easy task though.

The Bourne Supremacy (2004) Review

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The Bourne Supremacy

Time: 109 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
Franka Potente as Marie Helena Kreutz
Brian Cox as Ward Abbott
Julia Stiles as Nicolette “Nicky” Parsons
Karl Urban as Kirill
Gabriel Mann as Danny Zorn
Joan Allen as Pamela Landy
Director: Paul Greengrass

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is living in India when he is framed by Russian agent Kirill (Karl Urban) for the theft of millions from the CIA. Kirill begins to pursue Bourne, intending to assassinate him — but while Bourne and his girlfriend, Marie (Franka Potente), are on the run, a shot meant for him kills her instead. Vowing revenge, Bourne sets out to prove his innocence and bring the culprits to justice, but he has to evade CIA head Pamela Landry (Joan Allen), who is convinced he is guilty.

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The Bourne Identity was a big hit when it came out, and made Matt Damon a star. With The Bourne Supremacy, Liman is replaced by Greengrass. While some see Supremacy as an unnecessary sequel, I like it quite a bit, in fact I enjoy it slightly more than the previous film. The Bourne Supremacy is pretty much more of the same in Bourne Identity. The acting, writing and action is still quite great. It’s the direction and type of story that’s different.

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Again like with The Bourne Identity, you have to really pay attention to what is going on. There is a piece of Bourne’s past which he’s trying to remember, making it a little similar to the previous movie. However that’s only a small aspect in the story, the main part is that he’s being chased down, while he’s trying to find answers. Whereas Bourne Identity was a mystery movie, the Bourne Supremacy is a straight up thriller. As a result in some ways, this movie is easier to follow in comparison. I guess it depends which type of Bourne film you prefer, the mystery or the thriller.

Film Title: The Bourne Supremacy

Matt Damon returns and is just as great as he was in the previous film. There isn’t as much characterisation as in the previous film, but that wasn’t his purpose for this film, here he’s now the deadly assassin and really became Jason Bourne. Again like with the previous movie, most of the supporting actors like Brian Cox don’t particularly stand out but they are still good in their roles. They feel quite grounded in reality. The antagonising forces include Brian Cox and now Joan Allen. Both of their interactions and reasons for trying to hunt them down is much more interesting than in the previous film, as they have conflicting motivations. One supporting actor which does stand out, at least to me, is Karl Urban who plays a henchman, though I’m wondering whether that’s just because he’s Karl Urban. And Karl Urban is awesome.

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While the main level of quality of everything is at the same as in the previous movie, the movie is visually more interesting, in regards to the colour at least (I don’t know if that’s just me or what). The action is again like in the previous movie a bit shaky but is still well filmed. There are two times where it gets too shaky for its own good, one of them is early on in the first car chase, it kept cutting rapidly and the camerawork was really off. However after a while the action in that scene was filmed better. The second moment is a fight scene in the first half, it was done, quite frankly poorly but the rest of the action is done great by Greengrass. The stunts like in the previous film were done great as well, you feel like these people are actually there and in these action scenes.

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Having seen this movie, I think it’s about the same level of quality as The Bourne Identity. The action, acting, writing and all the elements are just as good. However I do still slightly prefer this movie over the previous film, certain elements of the direction I like a little more (personal preference). I do not think that this film should be dismissed, even if you consider it the lesser film in the trilogy, its’ still a very solid film, and should definitely be seen as soon as possible.