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Red Dragon Reviews

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Samuel Riley
Samuel Riley

Super Reviewer

June 27, 2012
Edward Norton's role will never top Jodie Foster's 'Clarice Starling', but his character is clever and unique. While Ralph Fiennes gives off a superb performance as 'The Tooth Fairy', it's not as shocking as Ted Levine's 'Buffalo Bill'. The major problem I had with this film was that it was too similar to the 1991 masterpiece.While it not up to the standards of 'The Silence of the Lambs', its worth a try if you enjoy seeing Anthony Hopkins return with a hunger for humans.
EightThirty .

Super Reviewer

March 7, 2010
24/11/2011 (ONLINE)

Super Reviewer

June 9, 2006
Some of this is a little uneven, and could have been better, but this is a decent and enjoyable thriller nonetheless. It's cool seeing Hannibal in a pre-Starling story, even if they didn't do a credible job of making Hopkins look younger.

He still does a good job though, and does Norton. Fiennes is creepy as shit, and he does a mostly good job, but he had the potential to be excellent. Still though, pretty good. Watson is nice, and she puts in some good work, but I find myself really enjoying Hoffman's work here. He's terrific at radiating sleaziness.

Ratner's direction is okay, but he doesn't have quite the same level of artistry as Demme or Scott. The script is okay, but I think could have been a touch or two better.

Even with it's issues, I like this movie. From what I remember, it follows the book a little better than a lot of adaptations, even if many liberties are taken. This isn't too bad, so go ahead and give it a watch if you want.

Super Reviewer

August 28, 2011
I have never seen Manhunter, but I hope it was as good as this. The plot was amazing, I felt like when I had first watched The Silence of the Lambs and how much Hannibal Lecter creeped me out. The cast was amazing, Anthony Hopkins was born for this role, and Ralph Phiennes deserved a lot of award nominations for his role. The movie was great, it was confusing at points, and although its not as good as The Silence of the Lambs, its much better than Hannibal and this is a great film and a must watch for fans of the greatest villain ever put in film.

Super Reviewer

May 15, 2011
Red Dragon deserved much more praise than it got. It opens with an amazing first sequence and doesn't slow down throughout. The movie offers an amazing cast. Although it's not as good as Silence of the Lambs, it's a great entry to the Hannibal Lecter series.

Super Reviewer

November 16, 2010
My favorite of the three Harris books by far and indeed my favorite of the movie adaptations of the chronicles of everyones favorite cannibal. Ed Norton was amazing in this movie as was another of my favorite actors Ralph Fiennes, as the "toothfairy". What makes this movie more compelling than its counterparts is its apparent and sometimes blatant lack of humour. You would have to be a strong person not to laugh at Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs and likewise with some of the quips that Hannibal makes in the self titled third movie. This movie is as serious as it is dark, but also has a humanistic undertone that gives you a relationship with the serial killer that is original and sometimes beautiful. Miles above the rest of the franchise, bravo!

Super Reviewer

February 8, 2008
By now, Anthony Hopkins can play Hannibal Lecter without even blinking he is just brillant~! "Red Dragon" turns out to be a Haunting Thriller with very convincing performances,sort of a remake of "Silence of the Lambs" so does feel familar...i give it a 4 star rating as it kept my attention~!
Adam M

Super Reviewer

August 10, 2010
if only every film school grad was this adequate... Red Dragon lauds and tries to dovetail with Silence of the Lambs, without the good taste to steal one bit of style. It invokes Silence of the Lambs like a namedropper works a party. The filmmaking has no style of its own, and great actors inhabit this atmosphere of genericness by doing their most paint-by-number work.

There's another film that remains a specter here more than Demme's Silence of the Lambs. Michael Mann did Manhunter as a style piece from the same novel. Mann's work, with its dream-like compositions, holds up very well, minus only a few 80s'isms. Red Dragon tries to assert its difference from the earlier movie by ... claiming shared pedigree with Demme's movie every 4 minutes. Lines that had eerie resonance in Manhunter are lifeless in Red Dragon. William Peterson as Will Graham seems scarier than Anthony Hopkins doing an impression of Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. Only improvement: the Tooth Fairy has better dialogue with the reporter. Biggest disappointment: same cinematographer as Manhunter. Did he figure, having already made art with the material, that the second time he'd just imitate a hack, just to try out what that was like? The director was already there.

Super Reviewer

June 8, 2010
Red Dragon is a remake of sorts to the 1986 film, Manhunter. This film follows even more closely the story of the book, and to be honest it's a great and very well done adaptations. The film is tense, suspenseful, thrilling and scary. Every element that you're looking for in a Hannibal Lector film is here. Whats most surprising to me is that this film was directed by Brett Rattner the director responsible for those Dreadful Rush Hour films and X-Men:The Last Stand, what crap those film were. Well Rattner does a great job in this film, it's to date his best and only good film. The cast of the film is phenomenal and the return of Anthony Hopkins yet again makes this a terrific Horror Thriller. Red Dragon is a well made, well adapted film thats just as good as the novel. Brett Rattner really shines directing this film, enjoy his adaptation of Red Dragon, because it's rare he does anything good.
Conner R

Super Reviewer

January 6, 2010
I know i'm essentially in the minority, but I loved this movie. I think it is on par with Silence of the Lambs. The cast is phenomenal, everyone from Edward Norton to Mary-Louise Parker was on top of their game. While this is a very different story than the other Lecter films, it is my personal favorite. I love the Tooth Fairy and the fact that he is acting on his mother's wishes, much like in Psycho.

Super Reviewer

December 7, 2009
A great Thriller with CLASS
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 16, 2009
I confess, I've never seen Manhunter and I?ve been told by reliable sources that it's much better than Red Dragon. That might well be the case but Red Dragon is still good, with a great cast and stylish direction.
Cassandra M

Super Reviewer

January 27, 2007
After the return of the infamous Hannibal Lecter to our screens in 2001 with Ridley Scott's film version of the best novel in Thomas Harris's Lecter trilogy, it's not surprising that a new version of the first novel in the series got an update a year later considering that it's previous screen version, Michael Mann's Manhunter, doesn't fit in with the other two films in the series. I do have to say that this version is both more true to Harris' novel and an overall better film than Manhunter; though it does have numerous shortfalls and has nothing on the masterpiece 'Silence of the Lambs'. The plot is quite similar to the one in Silence of the Lambs, and features a cop on the hunt of a serial killer and receiving help from the incarcerated Hannibal Lecter. FBI Agent Will Graham, the captor of Hannibal Lecter, is called out of retirement to help catch a serial killer dubbed "The Tooth Fairy" by the media. The killer has already slaughtered two families and the FBI believes that another one is soon to join them; meaning that Will Graham has no choice but to ask Hannibal Lecter for help with the case.

The casting is one of the things that many critics pick up on, and that's not surprising. Anthony Hopkins effortlessly slips back into the role that he will always be associated with; although he's far more comical here than in previous Lecter films. As anyone who has read the book will tell you, Edward Norton is completely wrong for the role of Will Graham as the role needed a grittier actor. Harvey Keitel is a great actor, but Scott Glenn from Silence of the Lambs fit the role of Jack Crawford much better. There's nothing wrong with the rest of the supporting cast, however, with Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson and Philip Seymour Hoffman all fit into their respective roles well. There's not a great deal wrong with the plot pacing, although the film is a little slow at times and the book is much more exciting on the whole. Certain parts of the plot could have been cut out to streamline the film for the screen, although Ted Tally's screenplay is good in that it does encompass most of the important parts of the book. Obviously this film is always going to come under criticism for not being as great as Silence of the Lambs and it does have nothing on the book, but overall Red Dragon is a decent enough thriller in it's own right and I cant say I dislike it.
Lady D

Super Reviewer

February 19, 2007
I can?t count the number of times I?ve watched this particular instalment to the series, but it?s cast alone is very impressive. Unlike the film ?Hannibal? Red Dragon is the film out of the four that is most like the original film ?The Silence of the Lambs?. With a unique way of telling the story (in terms of going backwards in order of instalments) the story unfolds and gives insight into how Dr Lecter was captured in the first place.

Yet another good storyline of a Serial Killer awaiting to be caught, with a much more divulged storyline than in SOTL. Ralph Fiennes played this part well, for which I gained a new respect for him in this serious role.

As with the other films in this series, there is an offering of Interlect and Culture, which is what adds to the mystery of the killers.

Super Reviewer

September 9, 2007
this is the prequils to all the films so its the making of hannible lecter and its pretty good but not as good as its accomplishes
Josh L

Super Reviewer

February 26, 2008
One of the few times I can say I like the third movie in the trilogy more than the first. It does everything exactly by the books (by that I mean it is almost exactly the same as Silence of the Lambs), but with better characters and actors. Ralph Fiennes was great. Too bad they had to screw up this franchise with Hannibal Rising.
familiar s

Super Reviewer

January 6, 2009
Miss it and be happy.

Super Reviewer

February 5, 2007
Whether or not a prequel works in film depends on the film itself. Some you forget are prequels so it doesn't matter (Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom). Some use main or supporting characters as the common factor but the events of each film unfold and conclude within the film itself so spoilers aren't an issue (Angels And Demons). Some the ending is obvious but because it's on a grand scale, there are character fates you're still curious about (the Star Wars prequel trilogy). There are even some sequels that contain a portion of the movie devoted to the origins of characters/events before the first movie (Godfather Part 2 does this with great effect)
How is all this relevant? Well, for those of you who don't know, Red Dragon is the prequel to the monumental Silence Of The Lambs and it might just be the best prequel in the film world.

Perhaps fittingly, we begin the film with the capture of Hannibal Lector (Anthony Hopkins) by FBI agent Will Graham (Edward Norton). This sets up how attuned Will's instincts are as he theorizes that the serial killer he's hunting for at the time is a cannibal and this in turn leads to his apprehending Lector, though at the cost of psychological trauma brought on from the experience, which leads to him leaving his position.

Like Silence, Anthony Hopkins does not waste one second of screen time here and his presence is truly much more terrifying when he's locked away, for he relies on psychological profiling to get to you.
Edward Norton himself does a magnificent job trying to get into the mind of the serial killer dubbed the "Tooth Fairy" (Ralph Fiennes) and it should be noted that this is the first film I saw both these actors in and it made me want to view more of their work, the films which I have seen containing these two actors is of impressive quality.

Also appearing on my film radar for the first time was Emily Watson, appearing as Reba McClane. She is the calming influence on Ralph Fiennes' tortured soul of a character and some of their scenes together are some of the strongest.
Although it would take a few more roles to get used to him, Phillip Seymour Hoffman does a really good job here as reporter Freddy Lounds. When being confronted by the Tooth Fairy, his terror is extremely convincing. I wouldn't be surprised if other actors use this to research how to act afraid with conviction

(From here there are spoilers so if you haven't seen the film and still want to, it's best to skip ahead. Although I said up top that you know some main characters will survive the movie, I am about to discuss the final confrontation).

At the end of the film, Francis Dolarhyde (the Tooth Fairy's real name), makes his way to the home of Will and his wife and proceeds to attack their son. This final act is truly amazing as it works as a manifestation of bringing your work home with you, something officers of the law and government agencies often fear. While that's more along the lines of attitudes and ideas, here we have something tangible. The fears these people have in their jobs realized right here in the form of Francis Dolarhyde, who himself is defeated by fears of his own. Every Hannibal film uses psychology as a weapon against crime and a defense for the "white hats" to seperate themselves from their prey. This is much more evident here by invoking childhood memories to overcome the villain of the peice and finally defeat both their demons once and for all.

Ok, the VERY end of the film caused me to groan (Hannibal being told that a female agent is coming and he wants to know what her name is) but otherwise, this is an excellent film. If all prequels could be like this, we'd be a lot happier when it comes to prequels.

Before I close this review, I want to comment on the unusual circumstances of this film. It's both a prequel and a remake (of 1986's Manhunter) yet the book was written first and was the starting point for the whole series until Hannibal Rising came out a little while back. How rare it is to find a film that proves to be a worthy prequel, a remake that isn't dismissed entirely and a film that can stand on it's own so well and be all of them combined.
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