"Break The Silence"
This initially sounds like an amazing movie. Hannibal is another Hannibal Lector film with Ridley Scott at the helm, Hopkins as Hannibal, and Julianne Moore as Clarice. Gary Oldman even appears, more or less, as the only surviving victim of Lector's. It's not to say that I didn't get a fair amount of enjoyment from Scott's Hannibal, but I was unsatisfied nonetheless. I didn't necessarily expect a masterpiece, but I did expect a movie better than this one.
Hannibal seemed incredibly goofy at times, while staying with the atmospheric seriousness of The Silence of the Lambs for the most part. Hans Zimmer delivers a great little score to bring out the tension that a movie with Lector in it deserves. That's one reason why I have a hard time totally dismissing this film. There was a relative amount of tension all the way through. It wasn't to the degree of Silence, but it was there.
In this Hannibal tale, Hannibal is living in Italy as Clarice deals with problems after a drug raid goes haywire. Also Hannibal's only surviving victim has a plan up his sleeves if he can ever get at him. The FBI decides to put Clarice back on the Lector case. The plot was a little messy in this film and things mostly felt either rushed or entirely too slow.
I realize I'm not talking this movie up much, but it at least deserves a look for Hopkins as Lector again. His performance isn't his Oscar winning one from Silence, but it's still good. Had he had a slightly less obvious, more subtle, and smarter script to work with; who knows what we'd be saying about Hopkins as it pertains to this movie. Too bad that isn't the case.
As it is this was worthwhile film for me. I still enjoyed it despite its many, many faults and the fact that Ridley Scott didn't deliver what was expected. I can pretty much guarantee you will be disappointed in the outcome of this movie if you have seen Silence. If you haven't seen Silence, go watch it. That's a priority. Hannibal is just a shock hungry film that holds on to just enough of the originals formula to be a minor recommendation.
Gary Oldman's haunting portrayal of the severely disfigured victim of Lecter's(Mason Verger) is so effective that I didn't have a clue it was him until I saw his name in the credits. He gives full credit to the makeup artists because what they did is actually quite hard to look at, but Oldman uses it to his advantage indeed.
Julianne Moore is perfect in the role of the woman(Clarice Starling) who fascinates Hannibal Lecter in every way. This film isn't the best follow up, but it does have a quality about it that just makes you watch in disbelief. And hey, some of these situations actually allow for some laughs.
But there is that sense of pantomime, or melodrama, when Anthony Hopkins' legendary screen character Dr. Hannibal Lecter is revealed as a physical presence for the first time; he turns to face us, the perspective is just to the side of the character of Renaldo Pazzi (Giannini), an Italian police officer, and there is that overly dramatic sense in us knowing who he is but the hapless supporting character not. This is all just before it is revealed Lecter is gunning for a job as a sort of curator at a centuries old library in Florence, and that his predecessor has mysteriously vanished only recently. To a degree, it all sort of works in its own odd little screwball way. Both Harris' 1999 book and this 2001 adaptation seem to warm to the character of Lecter without embracing him, and in titling the film 'Hannibal', the piece moves away from other series titles such as Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs; two headings that were linked to both the plight and internal difficulties of the serial killing antagonist The Tooth Fairy and lead Clarice Starling, respectively.
Clarice Starling is indeed back but is played by Julianne Moore, who does a relatively fine job. Curiously, rather than distance itself from 1991's popular and vastly acknowledged work of brilliance The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal makes the curious decision to evoke immediate, somewhat nostalgic, memories of said film in having Starling play back all the old tapes from when she interviewed Lecter. It's an odd reference to the previous film, an early 'getting out of the way' if you like of texts of old. But there's a sense that the film has its own identity anyway, and eventually comes across as being split into two distinct halves; a sequence, of which, at the beginning of the second half that sees Lecter chased around by some mercenaries employed by disgruntled past-Lecter victim Mason Verger (Oldman). They have it in mind to capture him so that Verger may wreck a horrid revenge, and it's an important sequence, a shifting of power as to where the film's chief levels of antagonism will arise. Previously, Verger was rendered deformed after an altercation with Lecter many years ago; in the process made to look a freak on the outside and just as ugly as on the inside when it arises he had engaged in prior acts of paedophilia, but is now mostly confined to a wheelchair; further still trapped within his huge manner house and vast acres of land.
The multi-strand approach initially sees Lecter based in Italy, giving away his whereabouts following the sending of a letter to Clarice, who is going through her own crisis of confidence with the F.B.I. following a market place shoot out in which an agent is killed. Starling is again struggling with the sexual advances that come with working within the male dominated world in which she operates, with the film making a point as to capture fellow agent Paul Krendler's (Liotta) glances at her in a meeting very early on while later; his physical position within the room they are talking sees him sit himself on a desk, thus looming over a sitting Starling when criticising those of Lecter's kind in that they have a taste for items of a high art nature and therefore are bound to be somewhat strange.
For the best part, the film is a Florence-set pot boiler revolving around Pazzi's attempts at dealing with Lecter who's operating under a pseudonym. The very gradual realisation and plan of action Pazzi puts into operation in capturing Lecter is constructed nicely, director Scott applying a fair amount of menace in having Lecter come across as someone whom may or may not know of Pazzi's plan. Scott additionally applies a variety of long shots at the most heightened of times; a telephone call to the F.B.I. ends with a shot of an entire plaza and that uneasy, mystical sense that someone may by out there amongst the array of busy bodies, observing what he's done; indeed heard the entire conversation if that were at all possible. There's a certain disturbing poetry to most of Lecter's murders in Hannibal, in that each victim evicts some sort of sinful tendency in their aims prior to their demise; be it lust, wrath or greed. It's easier to associate oneself with Lecter in the film as this wondering, loose serial killer but in making those around Lecter so unrelatable, the film rather brilliantly avoids rendering Lecter neither a romanticised figure nor someone we ought to feel natural affection toward. The film is uneven in tone, and pulls out the sort of gross content that sees it severely clash with most of its overall look, but as a pulpy tale of a killer on the loose; a vengeful past victim and a righteous detective on the hunt, Hannibal is in the end a ok film based on a book that I didn't like at all. Its as I said a film that has people who love and hate it so I suggest giving it a watch and judge for yourself
The location shooting is wonderful, as is the general look. I've actually been to one of the locations they shot at in person (the balcony scene with the hanging/disembowling). I've seen the balcony, building, and surrounding area it was shot at, and wandered around there for a while. It was cool.
The story is, I'm not gonna lie, kind of a contrived mess, but it's not that bad. There's not as much depth, and gore is favored above all, but I still have a hard time crying foul on this movie. I guess I just love the cast, locations, and the realism of the gruesomeness. Scott is a great director, but this isn't one of his better films. It's not his worst, but I think they should have kept Demme on board.
Julianne Moore is no Jodie Foster, but her Clarice Starling is still pretty good, and Moore is a great actress in her own right. Hopkins once again delivers as Hannibal, Ray Liotta is a great asshole, and Gary Oldman rocks as the ridiculously creepy and twisted Mason Verger out for revenge. He's unrecognizable, but is definitely unforgettable.
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.
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.
I´m giving a serious though in to eating your wife.