Cert: 18 Runtime: 131 mins Director: Ridley Scott Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Giancarlo Giannini, Zeljko Ivanek, Ray Liotta and Gary Oldman
People don’t always tell you what they are thinking. They just see to it that you don’t advance in life
The continuing saga of Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), the murdering cannibal. He is presently in Italy and works as a curator at a museum. Clarice Starling (Julianne Moore), the FBI agent whom he aided to apprehend a serial killer, was placed in charge of an operation but when one of her men botches it, she’s called to the mat by the Bureau. One high ranking official, Paul Krendler (Ray Liotta) has it in for her. But she gets a reprieve because Mason Verger (Gary Oldman), one of Lecter’s victims who is looking to get back at Lecter for what Lecter did to him, wants to use Starling to lure him out. When Lecter sends her a note she learns that he’s in Italy so she asks the police to keep an eye out for him. But a corrupt policeman who wants to get the reward that Verger placed on him, tells Verger where he is. But they fail to get him. Later Verger decides to frame Starling which makes Lecter return to the States. And the race to get Lecter begins.
This time, ‘Gladiator’ director Ridley Scott does what he does best, he delivers a straightforward popcorn flick, which lacks both the intensity and the psychological disturbance within one’s mind that the first movie caused. Scott abandons any style of a psychological film and imposes the film upon us in a truly elegant manner in which the film creeps up on us, but nowhere near the way in which the first one did. This ultimately leads me to wonder if Scott intentionally envisioned this style. He probably knew he could not make a film superior to its original, and therefore brought the film his way. Elegant, classy and well crafted, yet lacked the substance to truly make it a terrifying piece of fiction. ‘Hannibal’ is not a scary, nor terrifying film. Anthony Hopkins reprises his role as the crazed killer obsessed with FBI agent Starling, here played with Julianne Moore. Bar none, Hopkins is terrific. He IS Hannibal. As he preys upon his victims, his soothing voice caresses the scene, extracting that sub-lime genre of the conventional ‘slasher’, catapulting him into the area of a classy, well-educated killer, which seems to have a purpose in killing his victims. Yet, Julianne Moore will be the focus of the film as she takes over from Foster. Yet, do not be alarmed, she is merely a secondary character who takes a backseat to all the events catered around Hannibal.The film is well done. Scott will probably disappoint the die-hard fans of the first who expect a psychologically intense film that will stay with fans long after the film is over, such as the first one. But, it is a fun film. Seeing Hopkins bite into his character is well worth the price of admission all in itself. This truly proves what a great actor he is.Furthermore, as we track Hannibal in Italy where he is in seclusion, during that time the film maintains a touch of brilliance and class as we discover that he realizes something is wrong.
The characters in this film are fun, Gary Oldman plays Mason Verger, a hideously disfigured man who was a victim that escaped Hannibal’s grasp, and trust me, the make-up that Oldman endures for the film will make no one eat pop-corn in the theatre. Ray Liotta also stars and Giancarlo Giannini does an incredible piece at playing an Italian detective who is troubled by Hannibal’s presence. This film is well-done, fun to watch yet in no way as great as the original. And I believe it has something to do with the fact of the settings. The first half is mostly set in Italy creating a sense of elegance, and Hopkins is brilliant as he is a subtle simple man living in Italy. Yet, when the movie sets itself for the final 40 minutes, this is where it comes apart becoming clichéd, somewhat ludicrous as you will see in the climax and whereby it gives in to the Hollywood norm of blood, a few attempted chills and a disappointing ending.See it for yourself, and then you will understand. Despite all these flaws, you will still manage to have a great time, this movie is fun, and it seems as if it Scott wanted it that way. He crafts a pretty good film, intentionally drawing away from the first one, but the dip in the film after it leaves Italy results in a disappointing climax that will leave audiences somewhat with their stomachs upside-down. But hey, it is Hannibal ‘The Cannibal’ after all. In the end, a good film, but unfortunately does not try to set itself apart from other conformist thrillers, resulting in the audience leaving the theatre perhaps wanting more, yet at the same time asking why?