For many movie fans, including myself it’s been a long 10 years since our last Hannibal Lecter fix. I can honestly say after many rumors and heresay, the wait for the Dr.’s return was worth it. Anthony Hopkins comes back to haunt our nightmare’s in the sequel (well not really) to The Silence Of The Lambs in Hannibal.
What a Valentine’s date movie this turned out to be. Admitedly I am a big Hopkins fan. He could make the reading of the phone book scary. In Hannibal he outdoes himself. The humor of Dr. Lecter (yes, he does have a sense of humor) comes through in Hopkins delievery of some delicious one liners. It is a bit camp, but that makes it more fun. Now, to the serious movie review:
I loved Hannibal. Not everyone will. Yes, there is violence and gore to the extreme but not any more than you would get in a dose of one of the many less prestigious ‘slasher’ films. The performances are excellent all the way around. Julianne Moore is on board this time as Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster bailed out – the original Clarice from “Lambs”), Ridley Scott is the director (Jonathan Demme said ‘no thank you’ – the director from “Lambs”) but not to worry. Julianne does a wonderful performance and takes Clarice to places she probably never dreamed of. It would have been nice to have Jodie back but after seeing Julianne, the detractors have fallen silent.
Ridley Scott’s direction seems to come from a higher power. One could imagine he’s had the entire movie playing in his head since the got the nod yes to direct. Other fabulous performances belong to Gary Oldman (uncredited) as the sadistic pedophile Mason Verger, Lecter’s fourth victim. I won’t tell you more than that, it would spoil the surprise. I did have a problem with Mason’s character. He was more demented in Thomas Harris’ novel.
He almost pleads for sympathy (and may get some) in the movie. True, the movie did follow the book to a point but this is the one place it fell a bit short. The same can be said for Ray Liotta’s character Paul Krendler a rival FBI agent from the Justice Department. He too was more menacing in the book and was a stronger nemesis to Starling. Also, in the book we know why he’s after her. Only through one line in the movie do we get the answer. It would have been nice to explore that angle a bit also. Still, Liotta did a fine job.
I actually may be one of the few who enjoyed the book and its ending, as far out as it was. I had to read the book twice before it all sunk in. Still, the ending of the movie leaves you to wonder. One of the most impressive performances, besides Hopkins, is that of Giancarlo Giannini who played Det. Rinaldo Pazzi. His performance was flawless especially when opposite Lecter. The two played a cat and mouse game that was interesting, humorus, and terrifying.
Now, back to Sir Anthony. Playing Lecter with a sense of purpose – to survive – and yet obsessed with Clarice, if that’s the correct psychological term, to perfection, Hopkins seemed to glide across the screen with little effort. We as the movie audience totally buy him as Lecter. Even the inhuman things he’s capable of and does, we seem to dismiss and forgive him for. We like him anyway.
In Hannibal, we finally get to see just a spark of his compassionate side. He is a cannibal in love. The kiss was to die for. But you didn’t hear it from me. If you are just a bit squeamish you may be watching parts of the movie through your hands but it’s all in fun, really. There are some serious frights and jumps but there are just as much chuckles and nervous giggles. Would I recommend Hannibal? Absolutely. But not if you’re under 17 even though I know you’ve seen worse.
Go see the movie and enjoy the roller coaster ride we call the home of Hannibal.