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ManhunterThis is the first movie adaption of what has become Thomas Harris ' Hannibal Lecter trilogy. Here we are introduced to the not-so-good doctor in the form of Brian Cox [ Braveheart , who elected a much more subtle performance than Hopkins did. The title of the book is Red Dragon, but producer Dino de Laurentiis changed the name because two of his films with similar names [one was Red Sonja ] had flopped at the box office. He now apparently plans another adaption of the book, using its original title and the bits that didn't make it to the screenplay of Manhunter.
Retired FBI profiler William Petersen is approached by his ex-boss [Dennis Farina, a RL ex-cop] to track down a serial killer. Tom Noonan [who played the stereotypical axe-murderer in Last Action Hero ] is the disturbing Tooth Fairy, Francis Dollarhyde.
Screenwriter-Director Michael Mann is a genius, as proven by the likes of Heat, but as thrillers go this is ... not style over substance, like Blade Runner , because Manhunter doesn't really have much of either. Yes, it is chilling to feel the clock relentlessly tick down until Dollarhyde claims his next victim, but many scenes [especially the final climactic shoot-out] just to not ring true.
Silence of the LambsScott Glenn [Silverado] orders FBI trainee Clarice Starling [ Jodie Foster ] to interview Dr Hannibal Lecter [Anthony Hopkins - Freejack ] in order to track down a serial killer. In Manhunter, Lecter was Brian Cox in a well-lit, bleak white cell. Hopkin's portrayal is as a voice from the dark dungeon depths.
Of note to cameo watchers: one of Lecter's guards is played by Charles Napier, who also appeared in both Austin Powers films.
This was director Johnathan Demme 's first big film - and his only real success.
HannibalYes, this is the much-awaited sequel to Silence of the Lambs. Well, actually it is the adaption of the book, which makes quite a bit of difference. This reviewer has not yet read the book in its entirety, but is aware of several changes. Characters were cut, and the ending [which many people hated] has been changed.
The director is Ridley Scott , because the original director [ Jonathan Demme ] refused to participate. The story goes that Scott does not keep up on current events, and when producer Dino de Laurentiis asked him to direct the film he replied along the lines of I've just done Gladiator , I don't want to do another Roman epic! This despite the fact that the novel was a best-seller and the fact that the film rights went to Laurentiis was in about every national newspaper in the English-speaking world!
The original star, Jodie Foster , also refused to return - apparently she hated the [now-changed] ending. Her role as FBI Agent Clarice Starling is filled by Julianne Moore , a veteran supporting actress who has never received the recognition she deserves. Alas, here she is still very much second-player to Hopkins' title character.
Gary Oldman plays Lecter's fourth victim, a faceless cripple who devotes his time [and his family's considerable wealth] to tracking down Lecter for the purposes of personal revenge. This involves some Sardinian thugs and a batch of hyper-agressive boars.
We finally get to see Hannibal do some evil deeds. At the start of the film Clarice interviews Barney [Frankie Faison - Prey ], the warder who broke Lecter's arm. He tells her Dr Lecter preferred to eat the rude. And yes, Lecter polishes off a few bad guys here and there. He kills horribly and with minimum provocation, but the problem is that Harris seems to want to make his creation sympathetic. Hannibal performs monstrous deeds [especially the dinner scene at the end], but we are supposed to feel that the victims had it coming. Clarice seems to think so - she does not even beg Hannibal to be merciful.
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