The Hannibal Lecter Trilogy

D: Jonathan Demme
Orion/Strong Heart (Edward Saxon, Kenneth Utt & Ron Bozman)
US 1991
118 mins


W: Ted Tally [based on the novel by Robert Harris]
DP: Tak Fujimoto
Ed: Craig McKay
Mus: Howard Shore
PD: Kristi Zea
Cos: Colleen Atwood

Jodie Foster (Clarice Starling), Anthony Hopkins (Dr. Hannibal Lecter), Scott Glenn (Jack Crawford), Anthony Heald (Dr. Frederick Chilton), Ted Levine (Jame Gumb), Brooke Smith (Catherine Martin), Charles Napier (Sergeant Boyle), Diane Baker (Senator Ruth Martin)

One of the greatest horror movies ever made. A claim reinforced by the fact that, to date, it is the only representative of its genre to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
FBI cadet Clarice Starling (Foster) is recruited to investigate an incarcerated serial killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, theorising that by doing so, it would assist in tracking another one who is still at large.
The film largely follows the golden rules of horror by not showing all its hand early on, building up the tension and only resorting moments of bloodshed when it's truly necessary, instead it uses creepy innuendo, sinister dialogue and strong performances in order to imprint itself into the viewer's perception.
Both Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster are terrific, both winning Oscars for their performances as the film swept the Big Five categories (Film, Director, Actor, Actress, Screenplay), becoming only the third film ever to do so.
Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs
Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs

D: Ridley Scott
Universal/Scott Free (Dino de Laurentiis, Martha de Laurentiis & Ridley Scott)
US 2001
131 mins


W: David Mamet & Steven Zaillian [based on the novel by Thomas Harris]     
DP: John Mathieson
Ed: Pietro Scalia
Mus: Hans Zimmer

Anthony Hopkins (Hannibal Lecter), Julianne Moore (Clarice Starling), Ray Liotta (Paul Krendler), Frankie R. Faison (Barney), Giancarlo Giannini (Pazzi), Francesca Neri (Allegra Pazzi), Zeljko Ivanek (Dr. Cordell Doemling), Gary Oldman (Mason Verger)

Weak, disappointing sequel to The Silence Of The Lambs with Anthony Hopkins reprising his role as the titular character, although without the menace which brought his performance an Oscar in the predecessing film. Jodie Foster thought better than to return as FBI agent Starling, replaced by a miscast Julianne Moore. The story is very much revenge-based, seeing the evil Dr. Lecter outwitting an old adversary for his personal vengeance following his escape from a high security detention centre, unfortunately the atmospheric threat from the original film is replaced by mindless violence and attempted barbarism.
Some may find some of these scenes make them squeamish, others will just find it laughable or cheesy. I sided with the latter.
I wouldn't call this film a cash-grab on the popularity of the previous movie, but the novel certainly was.

Anthony Hopkins in Hannibal
Anthony Hopkins in Hannibal

To understand the origin of evil you must go back to the beginning
To understand the origin of evil you must go back to the beginning


D: Brett Ratner

Universal / Imagine (Dino de Laurentiis & Martha de Laurentiis)

US/Germany 🇺🇸🇩🇪 2002

124 mins 


W: Ted Tally [based on the novel by Robert Harris]

DP: Dante Spinotti

Ed: Mark Helfrich

Mus: Danny Elfman

Edward Norton (Will Graham), Anthony Hopkins (Hannibal Lecter), Ralph Fiennes (Francis Dolarhyde), Harvey Keitel (Jack Crawford), Emily Watson (Reba McClane), Mary-Louise Parker (Molly Graham)

Thomas Harris’ novel ‘Red Dragon’ was previously adapted to screen in 1986 by director-writer Michael Mann under the title ‘Manhunter’, which is a thriller I’d thoroughly recommend watching.

This remake/prequel was done to bring Anthony Hopkins into the fold, following his representation of the Hannibal Lecter character in both The Silence of the Lambs (which is a sequel to this story) and 2001’s Hannibal.

Edward Norton plays Will Graham, the FBI agent who puts Lecter in jail, investigating the identity of another serial killer the press have dubbed “The Tooth Fairy”, and probes Lecter to get ‘inside the mind’ of a psychopath.

The narrative practically follows the exact same beats as 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs, only with a serial killer with a different modus operandi and a different person playing detective.  The acting from the entire cast is fine, particularly Ralph Fiennes as the seething serial killer and Joan Allen as a blind woman who falls for his alter-ego’s charms. As a stand-alone thriller it’s an entertaining watch, but as a remake it isn’t as good as Manhunter and as a prequel it’s just nowhere near as good as the 1991 classic. A much better film than Hannibal though.


Red Dragon
Red Dragon