Welcome to another edition of Over/Under Movies, the podcast in which we pick one overrated film and one underrated film — similar in tone, genre, style, or however we see fit — and we discuss them.
I’m joined by my co-host Oktay Ege Kozak as we delve into two dark, brooding police procedurals involving longstanding serial killer (or serial kidnapper) cases. First on the docket is “Prisoners,” the English-language debut of Denis Villeneuve (shot after 2014’s “Enemy,” but released first). Villeneuve — Oscar-nominated this year for “Arrival” — has had an unprecedented run of great films since his Hollywood debut, and many critics (not to mention a healthy box office return for a mid-budget thriller) would include “Prisoners” as part of that incredible run. While we agree that the film is confidently directed, we come down on its unnecessarily long runtime, its heavy-handedness, the multiple red herrings that lead to nowhere and the plot twist that doesn’t land.
We then move onto “Manhunter,” Michael Mann’s 1986 adaptation of Thomas Harris’ novel “Red Dragon.” This is the first of three adaptations of Harris’ novel (the others being Brett Ratner’s 2002 remake and the third season of “Hannibal”), and we argue it as the best. While the years have been kind to the film — which saw mixed reviews from critics and an underwhelming box office return in 1986 — we feel that the film’s reach doesn’t go beyond a certain film geek crowd, largely in part to Anthony Hopkins’ iconic take on the Hannibal Lecter role. In Mann’s film, Brian Cox plays Hannibal the Cannibal, but like Harris’ novel, he takes a major backseat to Detective Will Graham’s (William Petersen) investigation into the Tooth Fairy murderer (an unsettling Tom Noonan). We praise Mann’s aesthetics, atmosphere, and morally grey areas, and urge people who haven’t seen it to seek it out.
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Note: The views expressed in this podcast are of the Over/Under Movies and do not necessarily reflect those of The Playlist.