Hannibal

Psychiatrist, connoisseur, bon vivant, twisted brain: Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) returns to the screen after a ten-year absence in this sequel to Jonathan Demme's award-winning THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. A decade has passed since FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Julianne Moore, ably assuming Jodie Foster's old role) first interviewed Lecter and gleaned...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Psychiatrist, connoisseur, bon vivant, twisted brain: Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) returns to the screen after a ten-year absence in this sequel to Jonathan Demme's award-winning THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. A decade has passed since FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Julianne Moore, ably assuming Jodie Foster's old role) first interviewed Lecter and gleaned enough clues from their enigmatic conversations to capture murderer Jame Gumb. But her career is no longer on the rise. Starling's righteousness and rigid dedication to procedure have alienated her superiors, and a bungled drug bust allows them to hang her out to dry. Her public humiliation attracts the attention of Lecter, now calling himself "Dr. Fell" and living in Florence, Italy, where he's angling for a coveted scholarly position overseeing a 15th-century private library, whose previous curator vanished mysteriously. Lecter sends Starling a teasing letter, and the game is on. Starling's inquiries of the local police alert Inspector Pazzi (Giancarlo Giannini) to Lecter's presence; he decides to capture the doctor on his own and collect the $3 million reward offered by Lecter's only surviving victim, the fabulously wealthy Mason Verger (Gary Oldman). Verger, a child molester whose court-ordered visits to Lecter left him hideously disfigured, also incorporates Starling into his elaborate plan for revenge, at whose center lies a herd of flesh-eating swine. Ridley Scott's direction is more baroque than Demme's, but its aura of corrupt luxury suits Lecter's warped sensibilities and hey — this time out, it's Lecter's show. He's even got his name in the title. Thomas Harris's 1999 novel dismayed many LAMBS fans with what they perceived as its betrayal of Clarice Starling; they should be pleased that the movie spares her Harris's most uncharacteristic narrative inventions, while retaining the book's over-the-top butchery — there's not a lot, but what there is is choice. Though the movie is clearly meant to work on its own, the relationship between Starling and Lecter plays best if you're familiar with LAMBS.

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