Only having seen "Manhunter" once, years ago, and not remembering much about it, I won't attempt to compare that film to it's remake, "Red Dragon". I've also never read any of the Thomas Harris novels that they are based on, so I won't compare them to the books either. But I will compare it to the other, more recent films in the Hannibal Lecter series, "Silence of the Lambs" and "Hannibal".
I think most would agree that, "Silence..." is a classic. It's one of those movies where everything came together beautifully. The director, the actors, the story, etc. It's to serial killer, suspense films as "The Godfather" is to mafia movies. I feel the only other movie of it's type to have even come close after "Silence of the Lambs"' release was "Se7en" with Morgan Freeman & Brad Pitt. So, it was with a lot of disappointment that I left the theater after seeing the long awaited sequel to "SOTL", "Hannibal". Jodie Foster didn't return to play the part of Clarice Starling, Jonathon Demme didn't direct, and worst of all, Sir Anthony Hopkins' portrayal of Dr. Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter was almost cartoonish. On top of that, the film was just "ugly". It felt nastier and dirtier than it's predecessor. More concerned with gore and blood than telling a decent story.
Well, I'm happy to report that "Red Dragon" has put the series back on track. This time around, Hopkins plays Hannibal, more as we first remember seeing him in "SOTL". meaning more subtlety and slyness and less of the scenery chewing and over-acting that went on in "Hannibal". Edward Norton is just fine as FBI agent, Will Graham, who puts Lecter behind bars and then comes out of retirement to help solve the case of "The Tooth Fairy". Ralph Fiennes gives a very creepy and effective performance as Francis Dolarhyde, so good is he IMHO, that I expect him to get an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor next year. It helps that his character is more fleshed out, pardon the pun, than Ted Levine's serial killer in "SOTL".
The director, Brett Ratner, has done a fine job of ending, (hopefully), this series on a high note. I say, hopefully, because as much as I enjoyed "SOTL" and now, "Red Dragon", one more trip to this well, will probably produce nothing but mud.
The only thing that stands in the way of higher praise on my part, is that it's a sequel, er prequel, to a well loved and admired film. We've seen some of these characters and situations before. The meetings between Graham and Lecter are good, but they don't enthrall me the way they did between Starling and Lecter. All in all, a fine job on everyone's part. It may not be as groundbreaking as the original "SOTL", but it has helped to wash away the "bad taste", sorry, left behind by "Hannibal".
Crime / Thriller
Crime / Thriller
FBI Agent Will Graham has been called out of early retirement to catch a serial killer, known by authorities as "The Tooth Fairy". He asks for the help of his arch-nemesis, Dr. Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter, so that he can be able to catch "The Tooth Fairy" and bring him to justice. The only problem is that "The Tooth Fairy" is getting inside information about Graham and his family from none other than Dr. Lecter.
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September 24, 2012 at 5:33 pm