The final chapter of the Dr. Hannibal Lecter quadrilogy, the murdering cannibal. He is presently in Italy, and works as a curator at a museum. Clarice Starling (Julianne Moore), the F.B.I. Agent who 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 U.S., and the race to get Lecter begins.
User Reviews: I like this film a lot, but of course it suffers – as all sequels do – by comparison to its predecessor, in this case ‘Silence of the Lambs’ The main reason for having a sequel at all was to showcase again the character of Hannibal Lecter, a monstrous creation everyone wanted to see more of after the first film. It could have bombed badly therefore if writer and actor had let us down by failing to catch the magic again. It was after all a decade after the original was made. But they don’t, and Anthony Hopkins turns in another delicious performance as the man with the evil intent cloaked in inestimable, menacing charm.
Julianne Moore drew the short straw in having to re-create the Clarice Starling role that had been so memorably played by another actress. She does well in my opinion, but inevitably we keep thinking ‘where is Jodie Foster?’, and this lends her portrayal a lack of credibility which is entirely unfair. Gary Oldman’s Mason Verger is suitably loathsome and manages to make Lecter seem almost like the hero in their battle of wits. If there is a weak link, Ray Liotta’s Krendler seems a bit misplaced.
The direction deserves special mention. The lush, beautiful settings are mocked by the horror of what is happening in them and the perfectly-selected atmospheric music stayed in my mind long after the film had ended.
Once again, the film lacks realism, but as with the original, it doesn’t matter. Of course things like this don’t really happen – but so what? It’s a film. Get over it! I was prompted after seeing it to read the books, and the right decision was made in changing the ending of this story from that written by Thomas Harris.
We were subsequently treated to another look at Lecter in a decent prequel movie, ‘Red Dragon,’ but I will not be alone in hoping that some day we will see yet more of him in a further instalment. Unlikely I suspect – but not impossible.