Archive: Hannibal (2001) A Review

Certificate: 18

Director: Ridley Scott

Screenwriter: Thomas Harris (novel), David Mamet (screenplay)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman

Genre: Thriller. Horror

Runtime: 131 Minutes

Rating: 3 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

Six Years after the original aired, Hannibal Lecter came back in a somewhat lack lustre sequel.  I am not saying that this movie is bad.  But if I was going to write a list of films that didn’t need a sequel, ‘Silence of the Lambs’ would be on it.  And if they insisted on doing a sequel, it should have stood alone, rather than try and shoehorn Clarice Starling back into the story.

Hannibal picks up ten years after ‘Silence of the Lambs’.  Clarice Starling (now played by Julianne Moore) has been a fully-fledged FBI agent for nearly a decade now.  After an operation she is working on goes sideways, she is put back in charge of the hunt for missing Hannibal Lecter.  And when she starts poking around in places, she isn’t wanted she ends up getting suspended.  But that doesn’t stop her from coming face to face again with the infamous cannibal, to deliciously gruesome ends.

Clarice Starling is a set of big Hollywood shoes to step into and Julianne Moore does a pretty great job.  It’s not fair to compare the two characters as Clarice is now a totally different person, in a totally different time in her life, but Moore does bring a strong element to the character and fills those bog shoes very well.  I don’t really know if brining her character back was all that necessary.  I liked the way their story ended, and it upset the ambiguous ending of the first film, to carry the story on here.

The nail biting atmosphere is back again however.  The same atmosphere that made the first film so good is still here, it is slow to start, but once we start getting to the juicy parts (excuse the pun) the tension ramps up and doesn’t really ease off until the final climactic scenes, and leaves us again, with another cryptically ambiguous ending.  Thankfully so far though, no one to my knowledge, has tried to carry on the story yet again.  I think Sir Anthony is a little to old to be reprising this role at this time of his life, God Bless His Soul.

The main revenge story focussed on Mason Verger, played by an unrecognisable Gary Oldman, isn’t really the driving force behind the film, that role goes firmly to Julianne Moore, but it is a great story and one that is just horrifying enough to have a good place here.  Even if then wrap up of this story wasn’t as satisfying as I wanted it to be.  It was over all to fast in my opinion.  Whereas the slimy Paul Krendler, really did get his comeuppance in the end in one of the most memorable Dinner Party scenes I have ever seen in any film.  You are equal parts horrified and satisfied as you watch this thoroughly unlikable character get what was coming to him.

Not as good as its predecessor by any means, but if you are a horror fan, and enjoyed the first film, it may be worth a watch.

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