Film: Red Dragon

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Film:

Red Dragon

Director: Brett Ratner
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: Universal Studios

A lot could’ve gone wrong in Red Dragon, but the movie exceeds expectations. Replacing the acclaimed Manhunter as an “official” entry in the Hannibal Lecter trilogy, this topnotch thriller—the second adaptation of Thomas Harris’s first Lecter novel—returns to the fertile soil of The Silence of the Lambs, serving as both prequel and heir to the legacy of Lecter as portrayed, with mischievous menace, by the great Anthony Hopkins. Familiar faces and locations reappear (along with Lambs screenwriter Ted Tally) as Lecter coaches FBI…

Reviews

Amazon.com

A lot could’ve gone wrong in Red Dragon, but the movie exceeds expectations. Replacing the acclaimed Manhunter as an “official” entry in the Hannibal Lecter trilogy, this topnotch thriller—the second adaptation of Thomas Harris’s first Lecter novel—returns to the fertile soil of The Silence of the Lambs, serving as both prequel and heir to the legacy of Lecter as portrayed, with mischievous menace, by the great Anthony Hopkins. Familiar faces and locations reappear (along with Lambs screenwriter Ted Tally) as Lecter coaches FBI profiler Will Graham (Edward Norton) in tracking the horrific “Tooth Fairy” killer (Ralph Fiennes), whose transformative killing spree is inspired by a William Blake painting. By dutifully serving Harris’s potent material, Tally and director Brett Ratner craft a suspenseful film worthy of its predecessors, bringing Hopkins full circle as one of the cinema’s all-time greatest villains. With overtones of Psycho and a superb supporting cast, Red Dragon succeeds against considerable odds. —Jeff Shannon

Barnes and Noble

Back for thirds as cannibalistic killer Hannibal Lecter, the characterization that earned him his Oscar, Sir Anthony Hopkins is once again deliciously devilish. This blood-curdling The Silence of the Lambs prequel—previously filmed as Manhunter—begins with Lecter’s apprehension by talented young FBI profiler Will Graham (Edward Norton), following a violent clash that leaves both men near death. Years later, Graham is called out of retirement to help search for the “Tooth Fairy,” a brilliant serial killer who preys on young women. Stymied in his investigation, Will turns to the one man who can put him on the murderer’s trail—the imprisoned Lecter, to whom the Tooth Fairy has written a fan letter. Red Dragon, based on the first in Thomas Harris’s bestselling series of violent thrillers, isn’t really a Hannibal Lecter story, but Hopkins effortlessly dominates the film, and his presence is felt throughout even though his actual screen time is limited. Ralph Fiennes, cast against type as the deranged Tooth Fairy, turns in a remarkably layered and intense performance. Emily Watson is equally good, and extremely sympathetic, as the blind woman who risks becoming one of his victims. But the movie’s essence is captured in the verbal duels between Lecter and Graham, sharply written by Ted Tally and directed with just the right emphasis by Brett Ratner (Rush Hour). The DVD edition features a Ratner-Tally commentary, in addition to a comparative analysis of Lecter and a real-life serial killer by renowned profiler John Douglas, a Hannibal Lecter “biography,” deleted scenes, and DVD-ROM content. A two-disc special edition adds Ratner’s “video diary” of the film’s production, behind-the-scenes footage, Ratner’s NYU student film, screen tests, and storyboard-to-film shot comparisons. Ed Hulse

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