Volume 94, Issue 79
Tuesday, February 13, 2001
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
A film almost worth sinking your teeth your teeth into
Gazette File Photo
THE MOMENT CLARICE REALIZED JUST HOW UNDERRATED FRESH BREATH IS. Anthony Hopkins gets up close and personal with Julianne Moore in the greatly anticipated Silence of the Lambs sequel, Hannibal.
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore
Directed By: Ridley Scott
By Ryan Dixon
It took 10 years, a new actress playing an old character and a different director at the helm, but at long last the good doctor is back.
Anthony Hopkins revives his bone-chilling portrayal of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, first introduced to movie goers a decade ago in The Silence of the Lambs, in the long awaited sequel Hannibal.
While the movie contains some characters it doesn't need and is somewhat sluggish at times, Hannibal offers just enough moments of pure Lecter to justify the anticipation many people have for this movie.
The majority of the movie is set in the camera-friendly streets of Florence, where Lecter is found immersing himself in the culture of old world Italy. Lecter lurks in the shadows of opera houses while pursued by local Italian Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi (Giancarlo Giannini).
Director Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Blade Runner) seems to be attempting to sell Lecter's intellect to his audience by asserting him as a sort of cultural guru who can only be satisfied when surrounded by the works of other geniuses. While it makes for striking sightlines and a pleasing soundtrack, it does little to add to Lecter's character itself. What Scott should have concentrated more on was placing Lecter in scenarios requiring a mind of immeasurable intelligence to unravel.
Having said that, the aesthetics of this movie cannot be ignored. Scott does a marvellous job of parlaying the grandeur of a city like Florence to his audience. Some viewers might find the visual experience and the operatic background music worth the price of admission on their own.
If Scott laboured much over the decision of casting Julianne Moore to replace Jodie Foster as FBI agent Clarice Starling, he should have found better things to do with his time. The fact of the matter is agent Starling had no real business being in the film. Her relationship with Lecter does not effectively make the transition from dingy dungeon cell to barrier free environment, and her token FBI controversy and internal stress seems very contrived.
Scott may have done better to sever all ties to the USA. Paul Krendler, played by Ray Liotta, is Starling's tacked-on thorn in the side at the FBI, and has no real place in the movie.
Hannibal might appeal to a different type of audience than originally anticipated. Those entering the theatre expecting to be intellectually stimulated by the brilliant mind of a doctor who prefers eating patients to treating them may well be disappointed. However, those people who have a preference for the slice and dice quality of the cheesy teenage cutthroat film genre might be pleasantly surprised.
The film definitely possesses some gruesome scenes that should not be viewed by the faint of heart. Scott does not let his audience off without reminding them that Lecter is, at his core, a killer and a man that craves the cranium for a meal before any social interaction.
At the height of the film's gore appeal is a stunning scene that can best be described by inverting the cliché of "food for thought' to "thought for food."
For those seeking an experience that challenges the mind, they would be better advised to stay home and do a crossword. Anybody hoping to indulge themselves in some stomach-turning scenes in a movie with a passable plot line bon appetite.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000