Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Ray Liotta, Gary Oldman
Directed By:
Ridley Scott

Anthony Hopkins reprises his role from Silence of the Lambs in this sequel in which the serial killed is being hunted down not only by FBI agent Clarice Starling (Moore), but by associates of the rich Mason Verger (Oldman), a victim of Lecter's. After a bust under her command goes bad, Starling is placed back on the case of the missing Hannibal, and meets Verger, who gives her the details of his own violent meeting with the cannibal doctor. From that point, the story switches between Starling's own diligent following of Lecter's trail and Italian lawman (Giancarlo Giannini) Pazzi's run-in with Hannibal.

As with everything else Ridley Scott does, Hannibal is filmed wonderfully. The scenery is lush and the shots are panned slow, but deliberately. In certain parts, the film takes on a jagged sense of visuals, giving the flashbacks a harshness to them.

Each of the roles are played exceptionally well. Hopkins is brilliant as the deliberate, yet menacingly intelligent Hannibal. He shows off a conservative brilliance that's shockingly interrupted in those rare moments when he seems to be caught in the rapture of his violence. Moore is a fine replacement for Jodie Foster (who chose not to reprise her role) as the driven Starling. Her conflict with her higher ups ads an extra depth to the tale, even if it falls into the standard Agent Vs. Establishment cliché. There are a few traditional roles - Ray Liotta plays the rather generics chauvinistic pig boss, who's trying to keep Starling back.

The strength of the story lies in that the movie doesn't automatically fall into the expected "Starling chases Hannibal" plotline. With the inclusion of Verger's and Pazzi's interference into the investigation, events turn out a bit different than one might expect. Unfortunately, though, there never really seems to be a true conflict in the film. You always seem to know who's going to die and when, and there's never a time where you feel that Hannibal would dare harm Starling.

While there are times where the movie can be quite gruesome, for the most part, it comes across as a slowly paced, deliberate tale that manages to successfully further the story along. Character interaction is nicely done and the script is well polished. If you enjoyed Silence of the Lambs, you should check Hannibal out.

- - Kinderfeld

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