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Good, but not great
webgrunt12 February 2001
Anthony Hopkins gave an impeccable performance. However, the material he was given to work with was not as good as Silence of the Lambs. In fairness, perhaps there was no way it could be. In SOTL, he was somehow more foreboding, more of a sort of superhuman monster; in Hannibal, he's more accessible, a guy you meet on the street. Maybe it was impossible to maintain the mystery of Lecter that we saw in SOTL because of the risk of doing a rehash. I'd give the overall Dr Lecter character a 9 of 10 in this film, vs. a 10 of 10 in the last one. Not quite as good, but still very good.

Starling's character, on the other hand, fell flat in this film. In SOTL, Foster perfectly portrayed Starling's flat surface with a turbulent depth; in Hannibal, there was nothing under her surface. Foster's Clarice evoked feelings of sympathetic grief, Moore's Clarice evoked nothing. I do not necessarily blame Moore, this could be due to writing and/or directing. Obviously, though SOTL focused mainly on Starling's character, Hannibal focuses on, well, Hannibal. Still, that's no excuse for what was done to Starling. Her character gets a 3 of 10.

The story was much weaker in Hannibal than in SOTL. It almost seemed like an excuse to present us with the characters, rather than a story in and of itself. Still, it had no other major flaws, so it gets a 6 of 10.

Now, there's another category I'll call the shock factor. It's different than ordinary gore, it's... creative gore. The sick, disgusting depravity we expect to see and like to see in this type of film. I can't go into detail without spoiling it, but I'll have to say it goes even beyond what I expected. Do not watch this film if you are squeamish or dislike gore. There isn't a lot of gore in the film, but what there was, was... concentrated. Shock Factor, 10 of 10.

Overall I give the film an 8 of 10. Very well done with a few weaknesses, well worth watching.
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A lot to chew on
Brian W. Fairbanks5 December 2003
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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tohu22 May 2006
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.
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Much More Than Brain Food
ccthemovieman-11 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I have to go against popular opinion on this one. Most people hate this film; I love it....well, 95 percent of it, anyway.

The shame of it is that most people only remember the last 10 minutes, a totally gruesome scene in which the top of a man's head is cut off and he's fed a morsel of his own brain. Of course, it's disgusting and I don't find it easy to watch, either.

However, the first two hours of the film offers a feast, if you'll pardon the pun, for the eyes and ears that is not revolting except for one other three-second shot. This is one of the most beautifully-filmed movies I've ever seen. Scene after scene is just jaw dropping and features some of the best shots, outside and inside, of Florence, Italy, you could ever imagine. Ridley Scott is known for his stylish direction and that is certainly the case here.

The dialog is fascinating, led by Anthony Hopkins' famous "Hannibal Lecter" character, whose vocabulary and intelligent sarcasm and baiting are clever and entertaining to hear. Unlike "Silence Of the Lambs," there is little verbal crudeness in this film, very little profanity at all. On the third viewing, I played this with the English subtitles on, so I could catch all the dialog.

This was a much lower-key film than it's famous predecessor, which probably disappointed a lot of people who prefer a lot more violence and f-words in their crime movies.

Although Jodie Foster performed well in the role of FBI Agent Clarice Starling, I preferred watching and listening to Julianne Moore play the part in this film. A "sleeper" here, too, was the great performance by Giancarlo Gianni, as the greedy Italian lawman, who winds up paying a huge price for his avarice.

Like "Godfather III," this is a very unjustly-criticized and overlooked third installment of a famous film trilogy.
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A Pleasure!
Clarice-58 March 2001
Hannibal is a pure pleasure! While a little unevenly paced (the beginning was a bit slow), David Mamet and Steve Zallian have done a good job of telling the basic story Thomas Harris gave to us - and, incidently, the book was incredibly underrated by critics whose thought processes seem to have been damaged by too little quality literature. People have complained that it took ten years for Harris to write it - well, read it! It is chock-a-block full of mythology, astronomical and religious themes that weave their way throughout. The threads never break. The movie would have had to be eight hours long to even begin to explore the depths plumbed by Harris in the book.

Anthony Hopkins is, as usual, brilliant! Julianne Moore was sexy and strong. Giancarlo Giannini was outstanding and Gary Oldman creditable. My only complaint with casting was Ray Liotta, who just didn't have "it".

Having seen this movie three times thus far, I will say that watching it is like peeling layers off an onion. You see more and more with each viewing - little treasures and nuggets that you find almost by accident. The first time I saw it, I left the theatre not really knowing what I thought of it. Then I found myself smiling. I did like it. When I went back again (and again!) I liked it more and more.

Gory? Not really - and I consider myself pretty sensitive to gore. I have seen far worse. The story does have violence in it, and I think Ridley Scott, while depicting an integral part of the story, handled the violence tastefully (if you'll pardon the expression).

Is it as good as Silence of the Lambs? No. It's DIFFERENT from SotL. In Silence we had a caged monster whose intensity was extremely focussed. Here, we have a monster who is on the loose in a great big world, free to indulge in his passions. Hannibal Lecter's essence has not changed. He's merely in a different situation.

My only disappointments were: The changed ending. This was the major one. I realize the critics lambasted Thomas Harris for the ending in the book, saying "Clarice would never have done that", but Clarice was the child of Harris' imagination. The author is god, and if god says a character will do something, who are we to second-guess?

The length of the movie. It could have been a little longer and more focus could have been put on the relationship between Hannibal and Clarice - specifically, his obsession with her, and the time they spent together after the fiasco at the Verger Estate.

It was also too bad that Mason Verger's sister, Margot, was written out of the script.

All in all, though, I thoroughly enjoyed the dark humor and the adventure. Hans Zimmer's score is magnificent! This is a really good film - not a great film, but a really good one. Don't go into it expecting to see another Silence of the Lambs. It's not - and I don't think anyone has ever tried to claim that it is. Expect to see a weird and wonderful love story and an adventure! (It's just too bad about that ending!)
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Its very good, so see it on the big screen.
louise210420 February 2001
I haven`t been affected this much by a movie in years, so that must be considered good value for money. The controversial gore scene towards the end made myself, and the majority of the audience, flinch, scream and nervously giggle simultaneously (a feel good/feel bad movie rolled into one!).

Having never read the original book I took the film at face value. It is beautifully filmed by a talented director and crew, and features lovely Italian location scenes which contrast with the grim plot. The acting is mainly excellent. Hopkins character appears creepier due to him beginning to resemble a kindly grandad, who suddenly turns and eats your brain. Julianne Moore`s excellent Clarice vaguely reminded me of Ripley, the star of Ridley Scotts masterpiece Alien. At worst, the rest of the cast were well above average.

The film had me captivated with its style, twisty plot, acting and gore. I found myself slightly rooting for the baddie Hannibal at some points, something I haven`t experienced since my empathy for evil Alex in A Clockwork Orange. If people find the deaths of some characters predictable, then maybe Scott has directed well in projecting Hannibal`s approach and morality.

This is the sort of big budget horror film movie-goers have been waiting for, so go see it on the large screen before its too late! Okay, it is not the same as Silence, so what? Ten years have passed and things have changed. I`ve heard the book is better. Well, I may now read it, but in the meantime I have enjoyed an excellent, thought provoking Film Of The Year!
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Doesn't come close to the quality of the original, but Anthony Hopkins's performance saves the movie. *** (out of four)
Movie-1215 February 2001
HANNIBAL / (2001) *** (out of four)

By Blake French:

Some movies are born to inspire sequels but "The Silence of The Lambs" is a movie that does not need a sequel. The Academy Award winning thriller earned ubiquitous critical acclaim, therefore a continuation is nearly incapable of living up to its standards. To make things worse for the highly anticipated sequel "Hannibal," the original film's director and main star bailed out, leaving Ridley Scott ("Gladiator") and Julianne Moore ("Magnolia") filling their places in the credits. It is hard to imagine how this movie could possibly succeed. But the exceptionally beautiful filmmaking, strong performances, intriguing story, and moody atmosphere provoke more nail-biting moments than most thrillers these days.

The story of "Hannibal" does not compare with "The Silence of the Lambs." It replaces tension-filled sequences of psychological terror with scenes featuring some of the most grotesque images and realistic gore to ever make its mark on the big screen. This film relies heavily on the shock factor of such extreme graphic violence, although such content is never excessive or relentless. It has perfect timing. The sheer presence of Anthony Hopkins, in another horrific and career defining performance, often creates enough terror for several movies. "Hannibal" knows that and frequently gives the character more freedom than he had in he first film. But I am not so sure that is a good thing; is it more terrifying listening to Hannibal Lecter discuss his disgusting actions or to actually see him perform such disturbing behaviors?

The film takes place ten years after FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster then, Julianne Moore now) interviewed convicted mass murdering cannibal Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) while searching for another disturbed killer. Present day: Clarice is involved with a drug bust shoot-out that leaves many dead. Justice Dept. Official Paul Krendler (Ray Liotta), is about to punish her when she gets a call from a the unrecognizably deformed surviving victim of an attack by Lecter. His name is Mason Verge (Gary Oldman), a wealthy recluse who asks that Starling be placed back on the case of the Cannibal, who has been on the loose for ten years.

The movie investigates a lot more than Clarice's experiences with Hannibal Lecter. The script actually consists of two separate stories, one detailing the revenge scheme of Mason, whom is still angry with Lecter after he caused the removal of his face and partial paralysis. The other takes place in Italy, where an inspector named Rinaldo Pazzi (Giancarlo Giannini) is out to claim a multimillion dollar reward for providing authorities with proper evidence leading to the arrest of a local, who turns out to be none other than Lecter himself. Obviously this man does not know what he is in for, and ends up losing his cuts for the money…literally.

Parallel stories are always interesting, but are easily sidetracked with certain characters and or events. What keeps this movie intriguing is the consistent focus on Lector; everything in the story seems to revolve around him. Then again, "Hannibal" is also quite pointless because it solves nothing. Without giving away the ending, I will say that we are once again left pondering about Lecter. Most any movie that provokes thoughts is worth seeing, but "Hannibal" forgets the first film, takes a stand on its own, and once again sets us up for another unnecessary follow-up.

The most apparent conflict many audiences with have with "Hannibal" is the absence of Jodie Foster. Julianne Moore is most definitely a capable and challenging actress, and plays the role of Starling with exuberance and clarity. But Foster is simply better in the role and we miss her dearly. Anthony Hopkins saves the movie; the actor is so intense and grisly in his subtle and classy manner, he once again qualifies as an award nominee. Thank goodness he returned for the role; without Hopkins, "Hannibal" would be nothing but underdone carnage.
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Bad, bad Hannibal! No sequel!
marcus_stokes200019 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
*Hannibal SPOILERS* Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) is back... for a travesty of a movie! Now he's in Italy, appreciating our food (including people, such as Rinaldo Pazzi (Giancarlo Giannini)), but comes back to the States for Clarice (Julianne Moore) and to even the score with a former victim, Mason Verger (Gary Oldman).

Let me tell you, this movie does not deserve to be spoken of along with Silence Of The Lambs and Manhunter, because it's truly, completely, absolutely, totally BAD.

I mean, the scene near the end with Ray Liotta's cranium being opened and him forced to eat part of his brain sautéed? WTF? Then, why the HELL was everybody so annoying (including Clarice)? And why did the story keep going nowhere? I suppose that this is the 'teen' chapter of the Hannibal series; terrible, stupid, gory for gore's sake and totally embarrassing.

Don't watch it, especially if you love any other of the Hannibal movies (SOTL, Manhunter, Red Dragon, Hannibal Rising).

Hannibal: 1/10.
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So bad it hurts.
stebai27 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I don't write many reviews here but having treated myself to watching the DVD of "Silence of the Lambs" the previous night, i thought i'd watch "Hannibal" again tonight. Now i first saw H at the movies on it's release, i wasn't overly impressed but i actually bought the DVD when it was released as i felt i may have missed something. Well after my third viewing this evening i have to say i've wasted nearly 6 hours of my life on a movie that has absolutely no redeeming features. I will never view it again. The scriptwriters when faced with a selection of some of the most unpleasant characters ever submitted to film resorted to some extremely lazy options. It's like they said "OK we have to make Hannibal the anti hero here, but he maims and kills quite a few innocents, any ideas? Well we could make the Italian policeman corrupt, make him shop in Hannibal all for the sake of a few bucks rather than going through the correct authorities, yeah that would work. How about this Verger geezer, he was mutilated by Lectors sadism and now wants revenge.I know lets make him a paedophile, brilliant. Oh and just for kicks lets turn Clarice into a dumb broad who makes one stupid decision after another, man we've nailed it, surefire hit." I cannot fathom how anyone gets anything out of this film, i enjoyed Silence and Red Dragon and to a lessor degree Manhunter, they were all intelligent to at least a reasonable level. Hannibal is schlock horror and has nothing bar beautiful cinematography in it's favour. Of the many, many DVDs i own Hannibal is going right to the bottom of the stack and will never see the light of day again.
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A Typical Hollywood Serial Killing
zippyflynn212 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Yup, they did it again. Between the sanitized ending: agent Starling became a cannibal in the book but is an unconvincing righteous crusader in this turkey (an essential and main theme the author uses throughout his books is what makes a truly great detective is their ability to think and be somewhat of the same cloth as those they hunt) and the miscast Julianne Moore who really stinks up the scenes with her phony flat floundering; Hollywood has killed another serial. Sir Anthony gives a fine performance with the flawed material he was given and Gary Oldman and Ray Liotta and some others are all excellent but they cannot keep this vessel from missing the mark completely. Once again the Hollywood execs involved with this have kept their jobs by hiring all the "right" people, so even if it had bombed at the box office they could claim they were not responsible because they hired all the "right" people. Unfortunately not enough of them were the right ones for this specific job. Besides one of the essential leads being a terrible and inappropriate choice, Ms. Moore, the integral story changes were idiotically formulaic, essentially burning all the bridges for thought the author had built and that had been kept intact in "The Silence of the Lambs" movie. Did Mamet REALLY write this? Or is he just the writer of record and it was destroyed by too many cooks (other writers) fooling around with the recipe? Why does Hollywood always do this? If a theme is "too dark" or "too depressing" do a different film for chrissake. Don't destroy the heart of something to make it more palatable for the bland masses. Hey I have an idea, instead of Dr. Lecter being a serial killer let him be a man who likes to eat lots of CEREAL. Yeah, that way you can make this into a cartoon for kids on Saturday morning too! Think of the marketing possibilities, tying it in with Cheerios or how about LIFE cereal? Wow, maybe the studio execs missed their chance to REALLY cash in. Shhhh, very quietly now, don't repeat this, otherwise the remake they do because they're all too cowardly to try a real new theme but instead rehash proved "box office" that they "rewrite" for the masses will be worse than what I just said.
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I see why Jodie passed on this movie...
abutton6818 February 2001
I never remember once even thinking about laughing as I watched Silence of the Lambs. I giggled a lot at Hannibal. In short, the movie lacked focus, showed us too much of Lecter, and had no suspense what so ever. I could not have cared less. I have heard the book was pretty bad too.
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One of the worst movies of 2001
Michael Kenmore21 August 2001
Warning: Spoilers
Hollywood has churned out yet another garbage that's wildly overhyped and underwhelming on a first-time viewing basis. Hannibal is bad, terrible, inept, lame, droll, idiotic, contrived, laughable and utterly atrocious (no pun intended). Minor spoilers follow...

This movie has huge logic holes - more than any Bruckheimer/Bay movie - or for that matter - any movie that exemplify the indulgence of Hollywood exaggeration. It's a slick Hollywood production designed to cash in on Hannibal Lector mania, directed by "so-somber-he-takes-this-way-too-seriously" hack director Ridley Scott and produced by a hack Italian producer with an inflated ego whose credo is "doesn't matter whether film is s**t, money is good".

I can't get over the fact that acclaimed screenwriters David Mamet and Steven Zaillian wrote this tripe adapted from a lame and pretentious book by a good-novelist-turned-hack-author Thomas Harris. David and Steven - well-known and immensely talented screenwriters - wasted their effort on a poor screenplay in exchange for fat paychecks. Another factor in the disappointment of this film.

There are too many ludicrous scenes to list that are laughable in clunky execution and poor logic e.g. Starling/Pazzi cell-phone in the midst of Lecter pursuit that turns up Inspector Pazzi as the victim. Not to mention laughably bad dialogues delivered by Tony Hopkins with a smirk and Julianne Moore, Ray Liotta and others who cannot act with the straight face. Hopkins gives the true meaning of "scenery-chewing" along with hammy acting by Gary Oldman as a deformed psychopath bent on exacting revenge against Lecter.

The gore effect is good, but only serves to repulse rather than provide suspense which is notably absent from Hannibal. The predecessor - Silence of the Lambs - is more believable with tension and suspense. Suspense is what made Silence of the Lamb work as a spectacular mix of psychological horror and thriller, not to mention superbly written and tensely directed. The "brain dinner" sequence is so laughably fake it borders on self-parody.

The ending is kinda blatant and idiotic - are we supposed to believe that Lecter is still a menace to society with the last shot establishing his glittering eye glaring at you? Ooh, scary...
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Sub par plot and acting
Buddha19797 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Wild boars, a man with no face and a nearly superhuman cannibal fugitive... this movie should have been called "Horrible" instead of "Hannibal." Take a perfectly good psychological thriller franchise and run it into the ground dug out by the over-the-counter sensationalized shock-horror motion pictures, and you have Hannibal. This movie uses the same subplots and horrific visuals that Silence of the Lambs used masterfully to convey suspense and horror and instead achieves only cheap gasps and smirks. Startling characters with over-done makeup, dungeon lighting in benign environments, and extravagant mansions and other unbelievable settings place this movie far out of the reach of Silence of the Lambs, a movie that planted a seed of fear in the minds of every viewer and allowed that seed to root and flourish with masterful storytelling, character development, acting and proper use of visuals. The tangible idea of a "serial killer next door" from Silence of the Lambs is completely washed out in Hannibal. If you watch this movie and want to enjoy it, don't compare it to Silence; don't expect a plot that lingers in the depths of your own fears, merely watch it with your brain removed and placed on the seat beside you (spoiler not intended).
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Disappointingly relies on a series of gory set pieces rather than consistent suspense or dramatic development
bob the moo6 June 2004
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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Like Hannibal himself ... ill-conceived and twisted...
A_Different_Drummer29 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Not so much a movie as a corporate offensive with the single goal of (what else) milking a franchise literally ... to death. OMG. Look at the talent in front of, and behind, the camera. Seriously. There are enough big names here to start another Hollywood. Ridley Scott, at a stage in his career (before Prometheus, for example) when his name was essentially a brand of its own. Screenplay by Mamet? How often does THAT happen? You have to believe that, to hook him into this project, a convoy of Brinks trucks carrying large, non-sequential, bills was somehow involved. Gary Oldman, one of the most accomplished character actors of all time. And of course they could not do the film without bringing back Sir Anthony, again, one of the greatest actors of the era, and at a stage in his career when his name as well was virtually a guarantee of quality (before the Odin-sleep, for example). What could go wrong?

Here is what went wrong: 1. They could not get Jodie Foster to do the part. This reviewer is incredibly naive, a genetic issue, and would like to think it was because her "Spidey sense" warned her of what was come, but more likely it was a about money. Instead, viewers were "Bewitched" (a reference to the way they swapped out the husband in the iconic TB show) and had to make do with Julianne Moore, a middling actress who, never, not even on her best day, captured the gravitas of Foster. 2. Hopkins was getting a bit old to play Hannibal, mid-60s by now, but to his credit he did handle himself remarkably well, and moved with the grace of a younger man. 3. The big error, the one that will go down in the history books, the one that will be taught in Film Schools of the future, is the ending. They did not simply change it. They butchered it. Almost as if Hollywood itself was saying to the book industry, look pal, you are toast, we have seen the future and it is all about portable devices, Google glasses, and electronic media. No one reads anymore. If we change the ending, who will know...?

Well this reviewer, for one. In the book, Hardy, a strange writer who likes challenging his readers, suddenly decided that Starling and Hannibal were meant for each other, like Fred and Ginger, and had them hook up at the close, and toddle off into the sunset. NOT MAKING THIS UP, READ THE BOOK. This was too much for a Hollywood production team who first and foremost wanted to make back the money they had advanced for the aforesaid Scott, Mamet, Hopkins and Oldman. So they basically filmed a different movie.

Which explains the low rating, and the sad feeling most fans of the original (Silence of the Lambs) get whenever you mention this sequel.
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Check it out
TalosIV17 February 2001
Well, the deal is done. Saw it. Liked it. However.....not nearly as good as Silence. Very different effect is achieved by this film. It does almost play like an elite form of slasher movie. Like Jason with class and an education. I like Jodie and I see why she really didn't want this role. There's not a hell of a lot for Starling to do. Let's just say this- I liked it for what it is. As a stand alone film. It works on some levels. I think 2 1/2 is a good rating. I can recommend it. I even liked it. It just pales in comparison. And one can't help but compare. The characters all seem a bit shallow. Even Lecter. Some parts of this film are sooo over the top, I have to accept them as dark humor. The main thing I remember about Silence is the overwhelming feeling of dread, of sadness about the events in the film. "What does he do, this man you seek?" "He kills women." "NO, that is INCIDENTAL." Now that exchange instilled horror in me. There's just nothing like that in this film.
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In Comparison, All Movies are good...
SpiderPants5 August 2001
Warning: Spoilers
I have witnessed some atrocities of cinema. In the past couple of years, it seems producers and directors are bent on making films that drive me closer and closer to insanity. Hannibal was not an exception. I wasn't expecting much, when I went in to see the movie. The book was ridiculous, and the saying, "The Book is always better than the movie" did not assure me at all that this movie would be anything but trash. But what I came to see was a movie that made all other bad movies seem better in comparison.

Usually, when I see a terrible movie, I find myself more amused than anything else. Sadly though, I could not even laugh at the sad excuse for a film that Hannibal is. The movie was filmed with promise, I guess. It had Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, and Gary Oldman. And for directing, there was Ridley Scott. There have been movies with significantly less talent that have been tremendously better. There was so much I would have cut from this film that I doubt anything would have remained. It was pathetic. The storyline was so ludicrous that it seemed like a complete idiot had written it. What's worse is that the book was even crazier, and there were some scenes that were too extreme to be included, which is sad in the case of a movie where


Ray Liotta's brain was being cooked in pieces. That scene more than any other made me want to cry, because it tarnished its predecessor to such a monumental level. Silence of the Lambs was one of my favorite films of all time. But Hannibal was a two hour plus joke. This movie should only be watched, if people want to learn how not to write a good movie.
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Silly And Uneven
Theo Robertson3 January 2003
I don`t know if it existed in the novel of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS but the impression I got from that film was that Clarice Starling was very uncomfortable in the presence of men . This character trait is totally ignored in HANNIBAL as the film opens with Agent Starling asleep in a police van surrounded with men and as the film continues we see that the Clarice Starling of this version is a strong willed and assertive woman at odds with the timid insecure girl of the 1991 film . I guess some people may say this is character development but I`d call it a lack of internal continiuty and I wasn`t too happy with the way the character was underused either.

Julianne Moore made little impression with her portrayal of Starling though that`s through little fault of her own because it`s always the most difficult job of an actor playing a role made famous by someone else , and as I said Starling is sidelined in much of the film . But still I would have liked to have seen Jodie Foster return to the part . As for the other actors Hopkins is competent but by no means spell binding , Liota gives the impression that a robot played his role throughout the film and not just in * THAT * scene , Giancarlo Giannini is good , but Gary Oldman absolutely steals the show as Mason Verger playing the role just the right side of camp complete with some great make up .

As for the other aspects of HANNIBAL Ridley Scott directs with an almost operatic touch , and I mean that both figuratively and literally . You really do get the feeling watching this that Scott`s ambition in life is to do a remake of AMADEUS with Hopkins in the role of Atonio Salieri . But the one major flaw with HANNIBAL is the script by Mamet and Zaillian . Again I have little idea of what the novel is like since my entire knowledge of it is confined to what I`ve read about it on this site but a couple of screenwriters with their great track record should be able to produce a satisfying screenplay no matter how poor the source novel . Here they fail , especially with the ending which is riducously over the top . But it was probably a good idea to omit Verger`s lesbian sister as this would have made the film descend into a camp joke
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You'll say Jodie who? as your take your first bite of Hannibal
motta80-26 February 2001
While hard to compare to its predecessor (Silence of the Lambs was a true masterpiece) the reintroduction of Hannibal Lecter, M.D. has truly been worth the 10 year wait.

The film strikes a very different tone from the outset, and this is down largely to director Ridley Scott. He and Sir Anthony Hopkins are having fun with this character and Hannibal (film and character) is very funny, albeit with a dark slightly twisted sense of humour. Hannibal is, essentially, the hero here and you like him and route for him to the end (which is quite different from the book.)

I will not go into plot as most people have probably read the book and saying more could only work to spoil the enjoyment so I will now just tackle the actors and production. Needless to say the film looks spectacular. The Florentine sets are breathtaking, but what else would you expect from the director of Blade Runner, Gladiator and Thelma & Louise - we know Ridley Scott can deliver the visuals.

As for the actors, Hopkins delivers the goods as we have come to expect from him. But here he is having a blast with a character he clearly enjoys inhabiting and he is rarely more powerful and commanding a presence than he is in this film and Lambs.

An unrecognisable Gary Oldman (and uncredited it the opening titles and on posters) holds his own as subvillain Mason Verger, Lecter's only surviving victim and the flashback of his mutilation is well handled. The film does provide plenty of gory surprises.

As for the key question, what of Julianne Moore? We all know how good an actress she is (Magnolia, Short Cuts, Boogie Nights) but can she fill Jodie Foster's Oscar winning shoes? The answer is yes! You will not give Foster a second thought in this film as Moore is Clarice Starling from the moment she appears. She is not trying to be Jodie Foster, she IS Clarice Starling. Hannibal is more a cat and mouse chase than the one-to-one Silence of the Lambs and it is difficult to imagine Foster playing this side of the character. That is the key, showing a different side to the character gives Moore something to work with more substantial than just being Jodie Foster. Personally I love both actresses but I wouldn't want Foster in this role (having seen it) if you paid me. This is Moore's part and she equips herself well.

See this film, marvel and then see it again. It may not quite be the masterpiece of Silence of the Lambs but it's close and it's a lot more entertaining. You'll laugh, you'll sit on the edge of your seat, you'll say "now that's just plain sick!"

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Shallow rollers
chaos-rampant29 July 2012
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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Waste of talent and film. Thoroughly ruined by Julianne Moore
Max Steiner18 October 2014
Cant think of anything good to say about this utterly unbelievable film except of course Anthony Hopkins. Ray Liotta and Gary Oldham's characters are pointless and their immense talents wasted. But the rotten cherry on top was a terribly cast "Clarice" played by Julianne Moore. Her one dimensional, stoic and unlikable "tough guy" personality doomed this film from the beginning. My closest comparison is Patrick Stewart vs William Shatner playing Star Trek's Capt Kirk. Shatner being multi dimensional, likable, smiles, and even occasionally vulnerable and flawed. Stewart being the polar opposite.

The plot is stereo-typical Hollywood. Any good film has a very strong "bad" character, force or entity. Despite his atrocities, Lecter's character is still virtuous and charming. Unlike "Silence", which clearly has that hate-able villain "Hannibal" painfully lacks one. 3/10 stars for its lack of direction, meandering and pointless plot and the fore mentioned utter unbelievability. Kudos and integrity points for Jodie Foster walking away from this big paycheck / bloated whale of a film.
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The weakest film to feature Hannibal Lecter
Film Flare26 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This sequel to the seminal Silence of the Lambs is a mixed meal. At times gripping, thrilling and beautiful, at other times it is confusing, slow and clumsy. One of the best parts of the film is Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter, he IS Hannibal and whilst not as menacing, intelligent or as complex as he is in 'Silence', he is none-the-less one of the film's stronger points.

The lack of return of Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling is one of the film's weaker points. Julianne Moore tries her best but doesn't have the emotional vulnerability and connection with Dr. Lecter that Foster had. Also, Julianne Moore slips in and out of the old West Virginian twang that played such a surprisingly large role in 'Silence' far too noticeably.

This is not one of Director Ridley Scott's best films and the direction is not the reason why. The film looks fantastic, the city of Florence in particular becomes a gruesome and macabre setting for the grisly proceedings. Several scenes in particular had me feeling quite nauseous, although possibly in part to blurring motion rather than the events in the scene.

The film, adapted from the novel by Thomas Harris follows a very similar narrative and the story idea itself is simple and effective. One of Lecter's victims wants revenge. Simple, powerful and eerie, an unrecognisable Gary Oldman (seriously) plays Mason Verger. A single- minded wealthy man who had the misfortune of crossing Lecter's path.

The main issue I have with the film is that it's surprisingly heavy handed. In this, at time it appears that Lecter is a redemptive moral story instead of a brilliant serial killer. His relationship with Starling again is too subtle, the fondness from Silence is still present but it's not as a awkward or as powerful as the scenes between Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. The ideas of corruption and redemption are further weaved around an idea of romance. Something that was hinted at but never as explicit as it is here.

So instead of a brilliantly complex psychological thriller with well crafted characters and razor tight scripting, you have a slightly clumsy, pseudo religious horror film. It's not bad per se, but it pales in comparison to films in the series both older and newer.

Read further reviews at: http://thegiff.typepad.com/film_flare/
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Hannibal Lecter : gentleman psychopath ?
antoinecatry30 September 2009
Manhunter and "Lambs" did make an effort not only to concentrate on the fascination for evil and morbidity and really tried to construct an investigation, a plot, something of a certain solidity. Its successor (and last episode of the Hannibal series in chronological order) is nothing but a work of blood. Moreover, even if fascination does work on me, I cannot grant an ounce of realism to the Hannibal character. Forgive this incongruous comparison : Batman is able to do justice because he's neurotic, traumatized by the murder of his parents ans wealthy enough to develop his arsenal on his war on crime ; I could believe in Batman in reality. In Lecter, I cannot. In the pictures, he shows a high sense of refinery in the arts, music and paintings ; he despises those he considers vulgar and low. Yet, the persona of Clarice Starling did manage to reveal his sociable side ; ambiguous love story ? I don't think that even Thomas Harris knows himself. Harris just made an important effort in creating a paradoxical man/monster. What puzzles us is that he's cultivated and capable of the most atrocious crimes of flesh at the same time ; in brief, he's not like the real life serial killers. Is he really a serial killer by the way ? What motivates his murders ? His personal freedom when he butchers those who hold him prisoner, but the others ? On what bases does he kill ? Despise for rudeness ? Bordedom generated by the petty tales his patients tell him ? Simply a hobby ? Even the story of his childhood remains superficial in answer to these mysteries. Hannibal Lecter is just a romanesque serial killer, exactly as James Bond is an idealized secret agent capable of speaking several languages and of many other things. This absence of credibility really makes it impossible for me to enjoy this film. Norman Bates or Leatheface are far from exaggerated, next to him.
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If you enjoyed The Silence of the Lambs, you'd be disappointed
martin_lindhe13 May 2002
The first half or so of the film made me very disappointed, I really enjoyed The Silence of the Lambs, but this was quite boring. The second half of the movie was better tho, maybe a little too gory, but also beautiful and finally made me recognize it as a sequel to The Silence of the Lambs. I really preferred Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling, this Julianne Moore frankly sucks.
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