God, I love this movie. I love everything about it.
It opened on Valentine’s Day, 2001, ten years exactly after its predecessor, “The Silence of the Lambs” took the world by storm. I remember the excitement of the crowd on opening night and how blown away we all were.
For the first half, it seemed like a European art/horror film (ala early Dario Argento) and the second half came on blasting as a steam roller, no holds barred, Grand Guignol type of film–and it all worked.
Anthony Hopkins is perfect. Julianne Moore, who more than takes the character of Clarice to new levels, is outstanding. Gary Oldman’s performance is just breathtaking. And the list goes on and on. No one gives a bad performance here, even if Ray Liotta plays the heavy Paul Krendler a little over the top.
I believe if the original actor, Ron Vawter, who played Krendler in ‘The Silence of the Lambs” had not died, the infamous dinner scene would have been even better.
This was also the film that started my interest in the films of Ridley Scott. Before this, I just could not get into any of his work–so this inevitably became my gateway drug. It was like having a revelation. Not to mention being able to see Mr. Scott’s films for the first time in widescreen on dvd more than helped seal the appreciation factor.
There has been a lot of discussion that “Hannibal” is just not in the same league as “The Silence of the Lambs” and I could not disagree more. It’s a completely different film and needs to be approached that way. This film is great and just as spectacular as “The Silence of the Lambs,” but in a different way.
Remember, this film takes place ten years later. The book it’s based on takes place ten years later. The film opened exactly ten years after Jonathan Demme’s Oscar winning film–so this film should not be viewed as an immediate follow-up, or cash in sequel.
Thomas Harris, who wrote the book, shockingly examines how our culture has changed since the invention of the internet and how catching criminals has now become sort of a sport. It effectively shows Clarice, while brave and heroic in the last film, has been battered over time by a system that does not seem (or want) to understand her. The only person who appears to “get” her is Hannibal, and that is because he saw so much of himself in her all those years ago.
The use of elegiac music by Hans Zimmer is one of his best scores and that is really saying something. The man just does incredible work here. So passionate, so loving, so tragic.
I take my hat off to everyone involved in this production. You took it seriously, you had fun, you used intellect, emotion and made the best damn film you could with that source material.
What appeared at first read a geek show reveals itself to be an astounding piece of filmmaking and one of the best horror films in the last twenty years.
Give it another try. You’ll see what I mean.Hannibal,