The extraordinary film Manhunter, filmed in 1986, features auteur-like vision by director Michael Mann, and memorable performances by Tom Noonan, Brian Cox, and William Petersen. Based on the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, Manhunter possesses an eerie noir-ness, focuses often on the similarities between hunter and hunted, and resonates powerfully to this day.
The brilliant character actor Tom Noonan gives a towering performance as serial killer/child predator John Lee Roche, who may, as it turns out, be responsible for the disappearance of Fox Mulder’s sister Samantha—the entire crux of the series.
Some fine work here by some of our best. First, Ian Holm does Jack The Ripper. Mr. Holm, not usually known for this type of thing, “kills” it. Amazing creativity. Then my guy Tom Noonan plays John Lee Roche, a towering psychopath who is soft-spoken but quite hilarious: nothing could beat “You’re just resisting me.” for a bit of dialogue with such a type. Next, career “Hey! It’s THAT guy!” actor…..which means you’re doing something RIGHT….Mark Holton allows John Gacy to inhabit him utterly in Crawl Space (2003). Very cool, very deadpan….then, in a (for me) surprise of sorts, Brian Dennehy pulls a devastating gem from his arsenal in his *own* portrayal of The Killer Clown in 1992’s To Catch a Killer. This is the only scene in the TV-movie with any violence, really, of any kind….and here it’s 100% psychological (which, if you’ve been there….)….but/and Dennehy’s undeniably intense psychopathic trance is unforgettable, poignant, tragic. And plenty frightening. Whoa.
The great (and quirky) character actor Tom Noonan, in 2 of his finest performances: in Wolfen; and in The X-Files episode Paper Hearts. There might be some Robocop 2 activities, as well. Perhaps also a jot of 1986’s Manhunter. Ok, 4 of his finest.
The 1981 horror/conservationist film Wolfen, based on the novel by Whitley Strieber, stars Albert Finney, Edward James Olmos, Gregory Hines, and Tom Noonan. All give first-rate performances, with the quirky character actor Noonan in particular providing a can’t-take-eyes-off-of-him turn as Ferguson. A movie with a switch in the hero and antagonist roles, bestowing an atypical, noteworthy moral compass upon it.