Crack filmmaker Michael Mann set the standard for combining slick music with slick visuals on the small screen with Miami Vice. Manhunter marked his triumphant return to the big screen, sporting a tense, atmospheric, and totally '80s soundtrack as chilling as the movie it accompanies. Some criticized the contributions from outside artists, claiming these cuts broke the tension. The Motion Picture Guide Annual claims the Prime Movers' "Strong as I Am" hurts the scene wherein the deluded and psychotic villain sees his girlfriend with another man, but in fact, Mann's skill with atmosphere is never in question. One of the few '80s auteurs, he combines the cold, robotic sterility of spine-tingling tracks by Shriekback perfectly with similarly chilling images, be it Brian Cox's terrifying Lecter or Tom Noonan's unhinged Tooth Fairy. Red 7 flares behind the flawless final shot of the protagonist on the beach, the threat of evil lingering perfectly in the score and scene. The Michel Rubini music expressly made for the movie is as cold as Mann's cobalt-blue sets. "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida" (In a Garden of Eden), already a classic, plays during the film's denouement, seamlessly synchronized with the antagonist's final ritual of evil and his ultimate downfall; once you've seen the movie, its images are forever etched to this immortal rock standard. Although both stand as consummate works of art, it's impossible to separate the soundtrack from the actual film because of the insular scope of Michael Mann's visionary visuals and tense tunes.
AllMusic Review by Doug Stone