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Red Dragon


Year: Unknown 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: Unknown 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

Despite the title, this isn't another martial arts action movie, it's the first in the series - and therefore in the great tradition of Star Wars one of the last to be made - of the Hannibal Lecter films. So, how does it compare?

Silence of the Lambs is generally seen as one of the finest psychological thrillers of all time. Hannibal, released last year, came in for criticism because it was so different, more style than substance, with Hopkins milking the role of Lecter for all it was worth. But it was great fun.

This latest vehicle begins after the original capture of the insane cannibalistic Lecter, with his nemesis Will Graham (Norton) coming out of retirement to seek his help in tracking a new serial killer (Fiennes). If you've seen Silence of the Lambs you probably get the picture. If you haven't then expect Lecter to play all manner of mind games and bargain over every last scrap of information - it's a joy to watch.

Where Red Dragon stands apart is in the interaction not between Lecter and a fresh-faced inexperienced rookie like Clarice Starling (as in Lambs), but between Lecter and the experienced, jaded Graham. There is perhaps a feeling that Norton doesn't seem as worn down and fragile as perhaps he should, but this is of little importance next to Hopkin's genius. This is not a copy of the Thomas Harris novel, but probably the most faithful of the films to date, and the benefits of this approach are clearly visible.

Red Dragon has been unfavourably compared with Manhunter, the first filmed version of this story. If you have seen Manhunter then you may well find yourself sitting at the back of the theatre, muttering to yourself about how they don't make films like they used to. But this is another chance (and probably your last - failing an ill judged attempt to extend the series) to see Anthony Hopkins in one of his greatest roles. That alone makes it worth a visit.

Stuart Jarvis

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Screenings of this film:

2002/2003 Spring Term (35mm)
2002/2003 Spring Term (35mm)
2002/2003 Spring Term (35mm)