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
Wistful thinking is fun. So if I ran my own studio and this was brought to me, forget that it's a sequel to a lucrative property, so carries expectations, I would have the whole writing team fired and off the lot by lunch. I would especially have Mamet fired, because he's not a dumb guy. Actually, the problem is they have to work from a terrible novel by a hack author, so everyone including Ridley and the actors seem jaded by the choices they have to make.
"But, hey it's a movie about a guy who chews off victims' faces, quit being a dunce". Not quite, my friends.
These films are about twin worlds, the cop world of reason and the killer's world of urges, hidden self and powerful intuition. Clarice straddles both, is damaged herself, that is the main thrust, so is able to solve the case in a way that both unfolds and redeems her darkness. The guy eating liver with a nice Chianti doesn't have to be the center.
Manhunter exemplified this can be done as evocative introspection; our anchor was in the second world, and it was spending time in this world that deepened our perspective for humanity and reason (and also conveyed the protagonist's soul, since the actor couldn't). The urge was for a normal touch that stirs deep.
Silence placed the anchor in the first and turned the second into a lurid caricature that verged on camp and b-horror. Because the film was not rooted in the world of images and intuition, it had to rely on Foster having good dramatic presence. She did it just barely, but the film was much less cinematic. Her urge was powerful but never conveyed with the camera. The killer's was about 'transformation' but squarely rooted in the sexual. He was reduced from the center of a rich world in Manhunter to a human camera ().
So here comes Ridley in the third installment. The poor guy is working by far from the worst script, even worse he's building on Demme's template instead of Mann's - had to by that point, the novel after all was written with Demme and Foster in mind.
The whole thing is lurid and cheap this go round. The urges are all base outside Lecter (sex - money - power - revenge). You will know it by how sloppy is the scene of Mason Verger's hallucinated memory (and really everything about this man).
So three sinners, all three righteously punished in increasingly hellish ways and Lecter has turned into a melancholy avenging angel slash fatherly mentor figure slash aged but suave lover. He's everything stereotypical about having a cultured taste. He's filmed around Florence to have lots of attractive scenery counterpointing the vileness, another lazy effect.
The Christ symbolism is just the tackiest thing. They might have had something with Lecter as Dante's Satan gnawing at the three traitors, but the portrayal doesn't match, and besides, Inferno is naturally the most crude portion of the text. There's nothing worthwhile to build from it anyway.
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