A retired FBI agent with psychological gifts is assigned to help track down "The Tooth Fairy", a mysterious serial killer; aiding him is imprisoned forensic psychiatrist Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter.
Will Graham is a former FBI agent who recently retired to Florida with his wife Molly and their young son. Graham was a 'profiler'; one who profiles criminal's behavior and tries to put his mind into the minds of criminals to examine their thoughts while visiting crime scenes. Will is called out of his self-imposed retirement at the request of his former boss Jack Crawford to help the FBI catch an elusive serial killer, known to the press as the 'Tooth Fairy', who randomly kills whole families in their houses during nights of the full moon and leaves bite marks on his victims. To try to search for clues to get into the mind of the killer, Will has occasional meetings with Dr. Hannibal Lecktor, a charismatic but very dangerous imprisoned serial killer that Will captured years earlier which nearly drove him insane from the horrific encounter that nearly cost Will's life. With some help and hindrance, Will races against the clock before the next full moon when the 'Tooth Fairy' will ... Written by
How many times have we heard "The film isn't as good as the book"? Let's face it. What film IS?! Red Dragon was a masterpiece and so is Manhunter.
To appreciate that there are two issues. Firstly, the film was created in 1986. It's stylised and looks slightly dated. The soundtrack is excellent but again very 1980's. Secondly, Red Dragon was not an easy book to write a screenplay for. There is way too much information that made the book so enthralling to squeeze in to 2 hours.
The cinematography, in particular the clever use of light and colours, is breathtaking. The choice of locations was also very deliberate. The scene where Will is running out of the building after speaking to Hannibal Lecter. They chose a building with a long spiral ramp down. The ramp is white, clinical. Running down the ramp is like those dreams where the bad man is chasing you and you can't get away. Will runs his heart out but doesn't get very far.
I agree that Cox plays a different Lecter but then the book wasn't about Lecter. There was some mention made but Lecter in this film is very much a Cameo appearance. The way in which Will goes about catching the killer is every bit as clever as Starling's methods, if not more so. In addition, we are treated to the thoughts, the inner monologue, the frustration and triumph of a hunter.
Make no mistake, if you expect an up-to-date movie as good in every respect as the book, you'll be disappointed. If you're sensible and expect nothing more than 2 hours quality entertainment you'll enjoy this one.
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