Hell of a way to start the month.
This week we shall be covering the Hannibal Lecter movies, chronologically, so Red Dragon first. Damn good movie in my opinion, certainly one of the best examples of a modern crime thriller, with great acting, excellent writing, truly horrific scenarios, and all with one of the most beloved movie monsters of all time Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Dare I say, Anthony Hopkins is better in this movie than Silence Of The Lambs. Yeah. I mean it. That might be considered blasphemy but really compare performances, he is much more scary in this movie in every way. But of course, either way you slice it Anthony Hopkins is a brilliant Hannibal Lecter. Yet, you can't have a good villain if you don't have a good hero, enter Will Graham played very well by Edward Norton. Now in the case of Will Graham it is a drastically different performance than in the television series Hannibal, now I'm not bashing Edward Norton in this role, he does very good work, he is believable to see he works with the F.B.I. to catch serial killers, it's very easy to describe and yet difficult to describe. He has a history with Hannibal, he does not take his nonsense, he does not do the little dance Lecter and Starling do in Silence Of The Lambs, he wants answers immediately which is very true to his character at this point in the story. I do not get the sense he really hates his work, almost very tortured in his method of finding killers, like in the series Hannibal or hell, even in Michael Mann's Manhunter which adapted Thomas Harris' novel sometime in the 80s, it is kind of subdued but not to the point where it breaks your suspension of disbelief. In fact, the whole movie like the others is fully rooted in real, hard reality so the film works incredibly well in the crime drama factor. Christ that's a whole nother comparison between Manhunter and Red Dragon but we are sticking to Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal movies, but Ralph Fiennes nails it in this movie. He perfectly conveys the right mix of truly sadistic and entirely sympathetic almost at the same time. Bravo Mr. Fiennes. Now in terms of story the movie follows the book very well, although it does take some liberties to have more Lecter in it and really, is that a bad thing? I don't think so. I know some people complain about Hopkins' age but really you hardly notice it because of his performance, it is great. You feel genuine menace in Red Dragon that was slightly lax in Silence Of The Lambs, you feel he wants to kill Will Graham, he despises him, tries everything to hurt him all while never once leaving his cell! That's a villain! You can lock him away and he can still plague your life. Now I know I could go on forever with comparisons between the different media around this particular chapter of the story so let me sum up for you. Red Dragon does the story much better than Hannibal, Manhunter gives a bit more depth to Will in this story but of course the show nails the characters down to a science, so all in all if you haven't seen Red Dragon it is well worth your time. As far as comparison notes go, watch Manhunter because you need to get through two and a half seasons of Hannibal to reach this story, if you feel up to it though give the show a whirl. Well that's all for tonight, stay tuned tomorrow for the next movie.