Hannibal ain’t winning any awards. All the problems stem from Thomas Harris writing a follow up novel after the success of The Silence of the Lambs. The original cast & crew all ended up disliking it. So Oscar winning director Jonathan Demme, writer, and star Jodie Foster all turned it down. Not even recent Oscar winning replacement director Ridley Scott could save it. I found a way to watch the Best Picture winner when I was younger, but I avoided Hannibal because of how gruesome it is. Along with Frankie Faison who played Lecter’s orderly, Anthony Hopkins is the only major returning actor.
As you can tell by the title, there’s a lot more Hannibal Lecter running around. The problem is how much it hurts the brilliant cannibalistic serial killer. The refined mystery and creepy focus are what made him so terrifying. I don’t want to see him roaming Italy, doing mundane things for half of a 2 hour movie. 10 years later, top agent Clarice Starling struggles with the FBI and attempts to locate Dr. Lecter. Julianne Moore does her best, but she’s still distracting. Especially when her Clarice feels so out of character. Not as bad as the book, but still off.
Another distraction is an unrecognizable Gary Oldman’s over-the-top performance as revenge hungry facially disfigured wealthy surviving Lecter victim Mason Verger. When Lecter kills again in Italy, he returns to the states to stalk Clarice. When he winds up in Veger’s trap, he’s almost fed to equally ridiculous wild boars. The biggest turn off comes at the end when Lecter drugs Clarice and dines on Ray Liotta’s exposed brain. They didn’t go with the out of nowhere romantic ending, but seeing Hannibal & Clarice this close still misses the point. Although some ideas could’ve worked, Hannibal doesn’t understand how much better the less is more approach can be.
Preceded by: The Silence of the Lambs