FBI AGENT WILL GRAHAM HAS BEEN CALLED OUT OF EARLY RETIREMENT TOCATCH A SERIAL KILLER, KNOWN BY AUTHORITIES AS THE TOOTHFAIRY. HE ASKS FOR THE HELP OF HIS ARCH-NEMESIS, DR. HANNIBAL THE CANNIBAL LECTER.THE ONLY PROBLEM IS ... more »THAT THE TOOTH FAIRYIS GETTING INSIDE INFORMATION FROM LECTOR« less
Darrell L. (exmedik) from CLEARFIELD, UT Reviewed on 12/23/2011...
Truer to the book than the 80's 'Manhunter'. Although Ralph Fiennes was good in this movie, I think he is not what Thomas Harris had in mind for Francis Dolarhyde. Whoever played that part should have looked like a NFL linebacker.
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Great Until the End.....
Daniel V. Reilly | Upstate New York, United States | 10/05/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When I first saw Michael Mann's adaptation of Thomas Harris' novel "Red Dragon", I was blown away; I'd never encountered a character as evil and wiley as Hannibal Lector (Played by Brian Cox.)....Years later, I read Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs back to back, and was blown away again. Especially by Red Dragon- The end of the book was SO powerful and dark that upon finishing the book, I sat in stunned silence for the rest of the train ride home. How could they have NOT used that end in Manhunter??? Well, here's more of the same....Red Dragon is perfect in nearly every way, except for the ending, which, while retaining the same setting, opts for a more "Crowd-pleasing" finale...and loses that punched-in-the-gut feeling that the novel gives. The cast is top-notch, as one would expect from actors the caliber of Harvey Keitel, Emily Watson, Mary-Louise Parker, Philip Seymour Hoffman (Especially good as the loathsome Freddie Lounds..), etc. Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, and Anthony Hopkins are all spellbinding in their respective roles as Fed, Serial Killer, and Imprisoned Cannibal, and the actual depiction of the capture of Lector, as well as his infamous dinner party is a real treat. I just couldn't get past that ending, though. Ever since Hannibal came out, I've been looking forward to the promised "Faithful" adaptation of Red Dragon. This isn't it. It's a well-made thriller with a cop-out ending. See the movie, by all means; If you liked the previous Hannibal films, you'll like this. But then do yourself a favor and read the book, to see the TRUE finale to the Will Graham/Tooth Fairy saga."
Possibly the best Hannibal dish of them all.
Tina Mrazik | Coral Springs, FL United States | 10/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The movie going public is obviously well acquainted with the most famous serial killer, cannibal, in cinematic history, Hannibal Lecter. In 2002's 'RED DRAGON,' Hannibal is back with force and vengeance, thanks to the brilliant portrayal of Sir Anthony Hopkins and inspired writing of screenwriter Ted Tally. He's got some of the best lines in the business. 'RED DRAGON,' for the most part is a remake of Michael Mann's 1986 'Manhunter.' Obviously there isn't a lot of variation between the two since they are both adaptations of Thomas Harris' book 'RED DRAGON.' But that is were the simularity ends. Sure, some scenes are structed the same, but to be fair this latest installment is closer and more true to the novel. For those that read the book or saw 'Manhunter,' it's no surprise that Hannibal had a rather small role. Ted Tally took some license and beefed up the character for some crucial scenes, adding a very interesting and inventive twist. From the onset, we see the capture of Hannibal by FBI Agent Will Graham, played flawlessly this time around by Edward Norton. We are also privy to a rather more intense Lecter, anger and resentment for being caught and put away. Hopkins doesn't need to do much to convey his distaste for Graham, the true talent of an excellent actor. Lecter is not over the top as many say he was in the third film 'HANNIBAL.' But this is really not a Lecter story. It is focused more on Graham and the new killer on the block, Francis Dolarhyde (played to an eeriely perfection by Ralph Fiennes). One not of advisement, if 'The Silence Of The Lambs', or 'Hannibal,' gave you nightmares, you may not be prepared for 'Dragon.' It is absolutely brutal in it's visuals and psychological mind games. Dolarhyde, aka the 'Tooth Fairy' is a brutal serial killer who has killed two families and may be on the hunt for a third. It is this that brings Jack Crawford (Harvey Keitel) on the quest to seek out a retired Graham. Reluctantly, Graham decides to help with the investigation. Graham does possess a certain gift, he can think like the killer. But it does cause a dilemma. The one person that could really give our detective the insight he needs is the one man who tried to kill him, Lector. As Clarice in 'Silence' Graham must once again delve into Lecter's world of the asylum. Frederick Chilton is back as the head of the asylum, again played by Anthony Heald
(the 'old friend for dinner' guy). Heald is an absolute delight in a awkward sort of way. He's definetly a one off. Basically, he's not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. Possibly the most disturbing character of the film is played by Fiennes. He is essentially a sympathetic killer, and yet you really want to see this guy go down. Fiennes is stunning in this role and adds his own spark to the role. Emily Watson plays Fiennes uninformed love interest who happens to be blind, lucky for her. Philip Seymour Hoffman is the sleazy tabloid reporter who in time is destined to get his comupance. It is really unfortunate that the Academy Awards does not hand out status to ensemble casts. If they did, 'RED DRAGON,' would probably be the only nomination in the catagory. There hasn't been a cast like this in many years. There is an equal balance between the three main characters, Lecter, Graham, and Dolarhyde. Lecter was in it just enough to keep it constantly fresh and on edge. Dolarhyde takes it over the edge and Graham brings it subtly back. Brett Ratner as the director did an excellent job in setting the scenes, the creepy atmosphere, and letting the actors do what they do best. This film is a winner all the way around. If any thriller were put up against 'Silence,' this may be the one that could surpass it in regards to thrills, chills and just plain excellent storytelling. Though the 4 movies are destined to be lumped together, 'Manhunter,' 'The Silence Of The Lambs,' 'Hannibal,' and now 'The Red Dragon,' which is completely understandable, 'Dragon' stands on it's own. And does so extremely well. This movie is obviously not for everyone. There is graphic violence that is disturbing. Yet in this vehicle it is not overplayed as say, your average slasher movie. If you're going to plunk down your hard earned cash for a movie, 'Red Dragon,' is the one. It is a good solid interesting movie that never lets go. Once it's got you, it's got you. And that ride starts as the lights in the theater go down. There's not too many movies that can boast that.Tina Mrazik"
Red Dragon 4 ? Manhunter 4
Mr. N. Carnegie | Kirkcaldy, Scotland, UK. | 11/24/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The debate has raged long and hard as to which of the adaptations of Thomas Harris's novel Red Dragon is superior with most people plumping for whichever version they saw first. For this is the problem with remakes (or watching a movie having already enjoyed the novel) and particularly with thrillers, where it's the twists and turns that dictate just how much viewing pleasure and excitement there is for the audience. So at the end of the day being objective about which movie is better and how to rate each one is very difficult (and perhaps all that serves to prove is the pointlessness of the debate) but for what it's worth here goes...In a third outing as the world's favourite cannibal Anthony Hopkins returns in this prequel to "The Silence of The Lambs", complete with a ponytail in a new and very clever opening sequence that pits Hannibal Lecter against the FBI's special agent Will Graham (Edward Norton). Directed by Brett Ratner, (a surprise choice given that his last two outings were The Family Man and Rush Hour 2), Red Dragon sets out to recapture the tension of Jonathan Demme's multi-oscar winning "Silence of The Lambs" and to this end the sets of Hannibal Lecter's prison cell have been expertly recreated. Anthony Heald makes a return as the disgustingly sleazy asylum boss, Dr Chilton and Anthony Hopkin's part is inflated from both the novel of its origin and Manhunter. For make no mistake, this is (unlike Ridley Scott's Hannibal) not a Hannibal Lecter film, just as it was never a Hannibal Lecter novel. Instead the focus of Red Dragon is actually Will Graham's showdown with his own inner demon's and another serial killer, Francis Dollarhyde, christened the Tooth Fairy by the movie's tabloid press and played expertly by the ever excellent Ralph Fiennes, complete with a body toned by months of lifting weights and an enormous tattoo, (present in the novel but absent from the book) of the eponymous Red Dragon, covering his entire back.But is it any good? Well, I genuinely believe that how much you enjoy this movie wholly depends on whether or not you have previously seen and enjoyed Michael Mann's original cult movie of the same novel, because for the most part both movies follow the same path and in places the same script. Being objective, and trying to put aside the baggage of having both seen and enjoyed Manhunter (I own it on VHS), I have to admit that this is by Hollywood standards a superior thriller with an excellent cast. As previously mentioned, to my mind Ralph Fiennes is both the star and strength of this movie. However, despite being an enormous fan of Edward Norton's previous work (Primal Fear, American History X, Fight Club, The Score etc.), I would have to say that he was miscast as special agent Will Graham in that his appearance is too preppy and his portrayal seems to lack the inward depth of a man tortured by his own thoughts and the mental scars of his previous (mental and physical) duel with Dr Lecter. Don't get me wrong Edward Norton's performance is fine but it just lacks that spark and charisma of his other roles, which I cant help but feel is partly as a result of being miscast and partly as the result of some uninspired by the numbers direction by Brett Ratner. As for Anthony Hopkin's, he is surprisingly forgettable. His part is little more than a cameo, where he only just steers clear of hamming it up and fails to chill in the same way as he did in his Oscar winning performance back in 1991's Silence of The Lambs. Harvey Keitel meanwhile is as reliable as ever as Graham's FBI boss Jack Crawford but although fine (scant praise for such fine actors) Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Emily Watson are only required to sleepwalk through their parts on cruise control. This is perhaps because they have small and undemanding roles with not enough character development or screen time to get their teeth into the parts. That aside there is also much to recommend Red Dragon, other than Ralph Fiennes excellent performance. The pre-credits sequence for example and the finale are both very thrilling and very enjoyable and there are several other scenes throughout the movie, particularly those featuring Francis Dollarhyde's character development, that were absent in Manhunter but more prevelant in the novel, which positively add to the viewing experience. The debate will no doubt rage long and hard but in the end which one is better is a pointless argument and a moot point. The best way to watch either movie is with an open mind but once you have seen either version its probably best to avoid the other, as your perceptions of the plot, the characters and their appearance will in all likelihood be indelibly set, thus spoiling your enjoyment of any other version. I'm scoring this one a draw, four stars ****."
ANTHONY HOPKINS STEALS THE SHOW...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 04/07/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Based upon the wonderful, well-written novel "Red Dragon" by Thomas Harris, this is a superior and chilling thriller. Grim and gripping, it features Edward Norton in the role of troubled, retired FBI agent, Will Graham, who is called back to service in order to track down a bizarre serial killer, known as the "Tooth Fairy". It appears that Graham has the uncanny ability to get into a killer's mindset and figure out what his next move might be. It is as if he and the killer become one. In his preparation for this, Graham even consults the imprisoned Hannibal Lecter (yes, THE Hannibal Lecter), deliciously played by Anthony Hopkins. Unfortunately for Graham, Hannibal has not forgotten that Graham was responsible for his changed circumstances.
It is Hannibal Lecter, after all, who was the catalyst for Will Graham's retirement. The viewer is treated to scenes of Lecter's life, before he was revealed to be Hannibal the Cannibal, one of the sickest serial killers ever to strike. The viewer sees the renowned psychiatrist in his milieu as an erudite, cultured, and wealthy patron of the arts. A noted gourmand, Dr. Lecter liked nothing better than to give intimate dinner parties for the favored few. Of course, some of the ingredients used for his dinners were best left unsaid. It was nice to see the always excellent John Rubenstein in the small role of a dinner guest, heaping accolades upon Hannibal for his dinner parties.
The movie is compelling and, at all times, gripping. Anthony Hopkins reprises his career defining role and steals the show (Really, Hannibal Lecter has become all but a cottage industry for him!). With a twinkle in his eye, he is, in his low key way, deliciously malevolent. Edward Norton, one of the best young actors around, gives a decent and sensitive portrayal of Will Graham, the angst ridden former FBI agent and profiler, but lacks the grittiness and hard-edged veneer that the role really demands. He also simply looks too young and soft for the role. Ralph Fiennes gives a fine performance as the tormented Francis Dolarhyde, but his portrayal is hampered by the fact that too little is revealed in the film about what makes him tick.
Emily Watson affectingly plays a blind woman who becomes romantically involved with Francis Dolarhyde. It is her involvement with him that helps bring the film to its stunning conclusion. Moreover, Ms. Watson is a wonderfully talented British actress who manages to get her American accent down pat. Good performances by Harvey Keitel, as Graham's former boss, and Mary Louise Parker, as Graham's wife, round out this fine, ensemble cast.
This film is a taut, unnerving psychological thriller that is subject to comparison to its 1986 predecessor "Manhunter". Having seen both, I call it a draw. This current version had a bigger budget, so obviously it has better production values. Also, the opening scenes in the current version are more interesting than those in the 1986 one. Music, however, was used to much better effect in the earlier version. Moreover, the final scenes in the earlier version were much better than in this later version, as they were much more suspenseful. Both films, however, are well worth watching. Do yourself a favor and view both. Then, judge for yourself."
It certainly rivals its predesceccors
Richard Taylor | United Kingdom | 11/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you close your eyes and simply listen, the first precise five minutes of Red Dragon are divine. Rattner tells you what the rest of the film is going to be like instantly with a few credits and then with out any fading or build up, throwing you onto the stage of the Baltimore Orchestra House, with the Philharmonic (actually the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra) playing a beautiful rendition of Mendelssohn's Scherzo from A Midsummer Night's Dream. Ratner makes the shots of the musicians last slightly longer than you would like so as to make you wonder exactly why your watching this, but then the camera begins to float up to the conductor, past him, towards the stage lights and slowly down into an audience full of heads. And there, slightly more well lit than the other members of the audience sits one of the most infamous killers in cinema history, hanging on every note of the ill fated flautist, Benjamin Raspail. The opening scene featuring Edward Norton capturing Anthony Hopkins' Lecter is amazing, especially as it was completely up to Ted Tally to come up with it, given Thomas Harris never really created an appropriate scene. The opening titles, accompanied by Elfman's dark and sickening score is incredibly useful and fulfilling, showing a series of newspaper clippings charting the capture of Dr Lecter up until his trial and life imprisonment. The films low point is clearly after this, the initial set up and the dialogue between Kietel and Norton. The scenes of Norton wandering around the victims homes is very nerve-racking and tense, always having you on the edge of your seat and some of the scenes are disturbing, especially Norton's flashes of the female victims. As an avid fan of Thomas Harris' greatest creation, it is great to see Hopkins return to portray Hannibal Lecter for what is presumably and hopefully, for the sake of not ruining a great trilogy, the last time. The only thing disappointing is Ratner has made such an effort to make Fiennes scenes and any other scenes not featuring Hopkins so serious and violent that whenever Hannibal Lecter is on screen, the audience just laugh at every line he says. An audience watching The Silence of the Lambs (1991) eleven years ago would have been silent during every word he says but unfortunately, due to his lack of boundaries during Hannibal (2001), Lecter has become a sort of caricature and is now considered a somewhat humorous figure. The story picks up pace the moment the note from Fiennes is discovered in Lecter's cell, and the scenes in particular especially between Dolarhyde & Reba and also Dolarhyde and Lounds are incredibly tense and frightening. The twist at the end, sticking to Harris novel much more, is hard to see coming unless you have read the book and are familiar with the general story. The final showdown between Norton and Fiennes is also just as good as any other scene in the film, although the additional finale with Hopkins is the perfect send off if this really is Lecter's final big screen adventure. Ratner and Tally have broken several rules however and one scene in particular which annoyed me is the part in which Lecter is cooked a gourmet meal in his cell as this just ruins the mood and atmosphere. The fact that Lecter gets to walk around the exercise room once a week goes against Silence of the Lambs (1991) when he tells Clarice Starling that he has been in the same room for eight years and he will never be let out. And also one of the final scenes shows beautiful sunlight in Lecter's cell, which obviously destroys the romance of the one thing Lecter longs for, a window. It is not worth people trying to compare Red Dragon to any other films. It is not worth trying to compare it to Manhunter, because it is not in affect a remake, it is a second adaptation of Harris's novel. It can be compared to Silence, but this film doesn't make an attempt to scare you mentally, it is about using sudden cuts and Elfman's demented score to make you literally jump in your seat and make your heart skip a few beats. The only time you feel scared by Lecter is when he is being carted back to his cell and he sees the forensic gloves in the cleaners pockets. If you must compare however, it would be completely wrong to make your comparisons against Hannibal (2001) because it is a completely different set up, the previous films are not about Hannibal, especially Red Dragon. Hannibal, hence the title, is about Hannibal and is about culture, romance and freedom, and seeing as the Timing is not particularly important to Ratner. The film begins in 1980 and the subitle following Hannibal's capture reads "Several years later. Red Dragon takes place over about three weeks and it ends directly with a link to Clarice waiting upstairs. When he speaks to Clarice in Silence of the Lambs (1991) he tells her he has been incarcerated for 8 years and it should be 1991. Which should mean the subtitle reading "Several" should be "10 years later". As an avid fan of Lecter, Hopkins, Bach, and Harris this film is brilliant."