The continuing saga of Hannibal Lecter, the murdering cannibal. He is presently in Italy and works as a curator at a museum. Clarice Starling, 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 has it in for her. But she gets a reprieve because Mason Verger, 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. Written by
Many people were disappointed or flat-out disgusted by Ridley Scott's follow-up to "The Silence of the Lambs." I can certainly understand their disgust, but I preferred this to its Oscar winning predecessor. It had been a long, long time since a movie made me turn from the screen in genuine horror, and I didn't believe it was even possible. "Hannibal"'s deservedly controversial climax took me by surprise. It may have been revolting (okay, it was very definitely revolting) but so few movies these days have any lasting impact and I appreciate that this one did. And it is, after all, about a cannibal, is it not? At some point in a series of films about a man of Lector's inclinations, we should see him at work.
Of course, the horror of the climax is effective because the rest of the film is so good. Hopkins, a little chunkier than the last time we saw him in this role, positively exudes menace especially in his final confrontation with Pazzi (an excellent Giancarlo Giannini whose sad eyes make him the most sympathetic character in the film). Then there's Gary Oldman's Mason Verger who is so contemptible that he never elicits sympathy no matter how he suffered at the hands of Lector. And Julianne Moore is an improvement over Jodie Foster who I have always believed was overrated.
But the best thing about "Hannibal" is the atmosphere in which Scott and his team envelop the story. A cloud of dread hangs over this film, and beautiful Florence, Italy, though still beautiful, appears haunted by Lector's very presence in the city.
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