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.Written by
Ray Liotta was cast after he kept running into Ridley Scott at the gym. Liotta asked Scott if he had any parts for him, and Scott immediately thought he'd be great as Krendler. See more »
In the opening scene in the Den, Barney opens the pink box and shows Mason the mask, the untied strings used to close the box change position in the different shots. See more »
I have immunity from the Justice Department, and I have immunity from the Risen Jesus. And nobody beats the Riz!
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As the opening credits end, Hannibal's face can be seen in the formation of pigeons on the ground before they fly away. See more »
Among scenes removed from the final cut that may show up in the television version is a time filler in which Lecter picks up Krendler's dog and talks to it while going over flower arrangements for his party. See more »
Disappointingly relies on a series of gory set pieces rather than consistent suspense or dramatic development
After being held accountable for a botched drug arrest that left 6 dead and great media coverage, FBI Agent Clarice Starling is sent away to follow up on new information regarding Dr Lecter from one of his past victims the disfigured Mason Verger. As Starling works under the demeaning supervision of Agent Krendler, Lecter begins to taunt her with letters from an unknown location. Meanwhile in Florence, Inspector Pazzi begins to suspect the identity of the new curator, while Verger places a $3million reward for anyone who will bring him information leading to Lecter.
The sequel that everyone wanted to see and that got lots of headlines for it's gory content was not something I was very bothered about seeing. Although I think Silence was a good film I was a bit surprised by the sheer volume and degree of praise that was heaped upon it. However I decided I would give it a go when it finally came on television and I pretty much got what I expected a gory film that trades on blood and it's title character without a great deal else of real value put in with it. The story is very condensed from the book (so I'm told anyway) and is basically boiled down to a handful of events that will deliver the shock and gore if that's all you want but that's not all I wanted. I needed a lot more in fact and I have a better appreciation of what made the first film a much better one than this.
For one thing the whole film lacks suspense by which I mean real suspense and tension, not just the suspense as we await the imminent arrive of the next gory scene. The plot is a little bit daffy at points and this may be done to it's slimmed down nature certainly I was not drawn in so much as merely standing by watching it. The film also asks a lot of us; it asks us to understand the relationship dynamic between Lecter and Starling even though it shows us very little here almost like it is expecting us just to take it on face value and remember Silence without it carrying anything through. Also it asked us to like, even support, Lecter an idea that I found wholly unappealing. There is nothing wrong with having a monster as your 'hero' character or of focusing on the dark side of humanity but here the film practically revels in the gore, almost forgetting all else. It has made Lecter such a comical character ('okay-dokay'?) that it doesn't really know what to do with itself when he is off screen. The fact that it doesn't do anything with this dark beast other than stare lovingly at him is a problem for me and just supported the idea that the film was out for gore.
Even the cast seem to realize that this film is nowhere near the caliber of Silence and they all seem to have their tongue in their cheeks with their performances. Hopkins seems to relish the chance to overplay in a big payday for him (the film could happen without Foster but not without him). His character is so much more played for fun than in Silence and this damages the tension, but Hopkins seems to be enjoying himself nonetheless. Moore plays it totally straight and doesn't have much fun she is good but she doesn't stand out even if she does replace Foster well. An unrecognisable Oldman also hams it up but keeps his character just this side of silly Ivanek supports Oldman well but is obviously eclipsed by the latter's showy role. Giannini is good in his minor role and is lucky to escape the script's excesses; sadly Liotta is not free and his performance towards the end matches the absurdity of the plot in his regard.
Overall this is a big fancy horror movie but it is far from the standard of Silence. It lacks real bite (sorry) in terms of tension and excitement and it replaces it with a series of increasingly gory set pieces. If all you want is superficial delivery then this is worth seeing as it is enjoyable as a gory horror but it is no more than that and fans of the mood and atmosphere of Silence Of The Lambs will feel a little cheated.
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