More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
3.49

Awesome: 24.39%
Worth A Look39.84%
Average: 13.82%
Pretty Bad: 4.07%
Total Crap: 17.89%

8 reviews, 75 user ratings


Latest Reviews

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by alejandroariera

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by Peter Sobczynski

Justice League by Peter Sobczynski

Mumon: The Land of Stealth by Jay Seaver

Geek Girls by Jay Seaver

Fashionista by Jay Seaver

I Love You, Daddy by Rob Gonsalves

Jailbreak by Jay Seaver

Attraction (2017) by Jay Seaver

Thousand Junkies, A by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed


Red Dragon
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Stephen Groenewegen

"Overkill"
3 stars

It’s hard not to be cynical about Red Dragon, the latest film instalment in the thought-it-was-over Hannibal Lecter series.

After the extreme exercise in audience alienation that was Hannibal, producer Dino De Laurentiis is having his third go at the franchise. He’s now produced every Lecter film bar the one that counts - The Silence of the Lambs, which became a cultural phenomenon on its release in 1991. With novelist Thomas Harris closing the book on new Lecter adventures, De Laurentiis has decided to wipe out his first attempt at Red Dragon, Manhunter (1986, written and directed by Michael Mann), and try again.

The mechanism of Red Dragon’s plot is the same as Silence. A vulnerable FBI agent must co-operate with an imprisoned Lecter to capture a serial killer. The agent is Will Graham (Edward Norton), who retired from the Bureau several years earlier after apprehending Lecter. Now he must conquer his fears and return to the game. You’ll realise why he’d had enough once you’ve seen the pre-credit sequence of Lecter’s capture.

Graham has a gift, an “artistic imagination” that allows him to project into the minds of killers to predict their behaviour and trap them. He’s presently seeking Francis Dolarhyde (Ralph Fiennes), who has a penchant for slaying all-American nuclear families beneath a full moon. Dolarhyde leaves scant trace of how he selects his victims and, consequently, which family will be next.

After passing on Hannibal, Ted Tally has returned to write the screenplay. It lacks the directness of his earlier Silence script; Red Dragon seems overstuffed with characters and incident to try and make us forget we’ve seen all this before. Important aspects of the plot are glossed over, like Dolarhyde’s motivations and choice of victims.

Director Brett Ratner films mostly in close-up, focusing on the talking actors’ faces. His work is adequate, rather than inspired. It’s the kind of smooth, polished direction that helped make his last film, Rush Hour 2, a massive box office hit. None of the scenes or set-ups will haunt your imagination later. Like directors Demme (Silence) and Scott (Hannibal) before him, Ratner thinks the Lecter stories are the stuff of High Art; he’s forgotten he’s making a horror film. A grittier, pulpier look might have helped, but cinematographer Dante Spinotti has given Red Dragon a too-glossy sheen.

After making an action movie with Chris Rock, it’s difficult to imagine Anthony Hopkins ever knocking back work. But he insists he would not have made Red Dragon if he didn’t like the script. Hopkins’ characterisation veers between menace and ham; sometimes, he seems almost to be parodying Lecter rather than playing him. Familiarity has bred contempt, and the character’s impact has sadly dissipated since Hopkins first assayed the part in Silence. Hopkins’ real achievement has been making Lecter his signature role without ever letting it typecast him. He’s played more American presidents than serial killers.

The usually reliable Edward Norton seems more focused on his $8 million pay cheque than the job at hand. He walks through the film without investing much passion or conviction into Graham, and seems too young to be playing a jaded agent lured out of premature retirement.

It’s the other performances that stay with you. Emily Watson plays the blind Reba McClane, a flirtatious workmate of Dolarhyde. It could have been an awful corny victim part, but Watson gives Reba a playfulness and toughness that surprises. Ralph Fiennes makes for a suitably creepy and withdrawn Dolarhyde. He lives alone in a ramshackle nursing home obsessing about his transformation into a “red dragon”, as rendered in poet William Blake’s illustrated Auguries of Innocence. Antagonising Dolarhyde and Graham is Philip Seymour Hoffman’s gutter journalist. Hoffman’s never afraid to play loathsome and he’s as memorable here as he was in The Talented Mr Ripley.

Ellen Burstyn (voicing Dolarhyde’s tyrannical grandmother), Harvey Keitel and Mary-Louise Parker lend the film class in background roles. And Danny Elfman’s music playfully references Bernard Herrmann’s legendary stringed Psycho score.

With Red Dragon, De Laurentiis should win back some of the many viewers disaffected by Hannibal. But let’s hope he’s ready to follow the example of Lecter’s creator, Thomas Harris, and finally put this character to rest.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6176&reviewer=104
originally posted: 10/21/02 13:43:53
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

6/27/14 Monday Morning Biting someone's lips off - definitely will hurt the guy on the dating scene. 4 stars
2/09/14 Captain pooper-scooper. Aww yeaa. U get wit dis, u get wit dat, u get wit dis. Shoots dang! Ting! Is good film! 5 stars
2/08/13 Jeff Wilder Entertaining but pointless. Wathc Manhunter instead. 2 stars
2/10/10 Alex Thorne better than it has every right to be. Fiennes is the highlight here 4 stars
4/24/09 GordonD Dull, lifeless cash-in, made solely to have a trilogy with Hopkins. 2 stars
5/25/08 PAUL SHORTT THE FILM HAS VERY LITTLE MOMENTUM, NOTHING FRESHLY IMAGINED 1 stars
3/03/08 ladavies I preferred Manhunter. 3 stars
10/15/07 Sandy Sussman Bestest movie I ever Seen 1 stars
8/02/07 Indrid Cold At least Hannibal was fresh and entertaining. This is competent but just a retread of SOTL. 3 stars
6/20/07 Muted Orbz Michael Mannhunter was Lifetime network dull. This was a 360. 5 stars
1/10/07 harry fucking shit 5 stars
12/31/06 del What was wrong with MANHUNTER? Everything - sadly, this IS superior. Deal with it. 4 stars
12/16/06 David Pollastrini good gore. 4 stars
9/22/06 Alyssa Hale Excellent movie! The actors were great! 5 stars
6/22/06 TB Little okay suspense movie 3 stars
4/04/06 Billy Joe Williams Awesome movie. Had to watch it a couple of times but it was great every time. 5 stars
12/26/05 chris truly a masterpeice.... 5 stars
9/25/05 Hotdog Lazy..Desperate..Cash Grubbing...Cynical...Amateurish...Criminal Rehash of a Classic 1 stars
8/18/05 ES Better than silence and hannibal 4 stars
4/26/05 E-FUNK Brett Ratner takes 'Manhunter' and turns it into 'Man-chowder'. Unnecessary and insulting. 1 stars
3/25/05 dwarzel what was wrong with Manhunter? 1 stars
3/07/05 R.W. Welch About as good as Manhunter though it gets pretty hokey towards the end. 4 stars
11/24/04 Steve Newman The Dragon tattoo is fantastic. Great film, well acted, very enjoyable, go watch. 4 stars
11/15/04 zsuzsanna Exciting, wonderfully played. 5 stars
10/01/04 Cannabinoid fallopian tube WICKED!!! (in the best way) 5 stars
4/07/04 Sig This redeems itself from "Hannibal" 5 stars
2/25/04 Dr.Lecter Better than the shallow, lifeless Manhunter in every way 5 stars
2/04/04 LIAM JACKSON ratner's biggest wank-fest to date. manhunter was a classic 1 stars
2/02/04 Samuel norton and hopkins give great performances, but the killer is a skinny guy who isnt scary 4 stars
12/07/03 john an abysmal attempt at a thriller - Michael Mann shot the same story better 20 years ago 1 stars
11/17/03 KING EDWARD bill rooney- i sincerely hope your whole family dies. i hope i can be the one to kill them. 5 stars
9/14/03 the dragon hey daniel p holla- what's with the faggot name? R.D. IS THE BEST. may you die soon, queer. 5 stars
8/28/03 Mr. Hat Great: the movie and the fact that the director of Money Talks & Rush Hour did this. 4 stars
8/19/03 snowconehead I tad bit obligatory, but decent enough to sit through 3 stars
8/14/03 Jeannie Karlsen RALPH FIENNES is my GOD! He is a brilliant actor in an o.k movie. Still bought it though. 4 stars
6/22/03 Daniel P Holla Anyone who thought this movie was watchable should be strung up by their toes 1 stars
6/19/03 gray Fails to affect on any level. Cast, direction, script... all mundane. 2 stars
6/06/03 Charles Tatum Competent direction and cast, but nothing new; better than Hannibal 4 stars
4/04/03 othree equals to Silence, great casting, through, 1st rate Hopkins' Hannibal 4 stars
3/17/03 Paul Coleman Suprisingly boring. See Michael Mann's MANHUNTER instead. 2 stars
2/24/03 the pilgrim my all time favorite- fiennes IS dolorhyde- 'manhunter' be damned!! 5 stars
1/02/03 Elizaveta Gotta love Edward Norton - not as great as "silence" though. 5 stars
12/15/02 David A. Great movie, but Dolarhyde could have grown a mustache! (Dr. Evil would tell me to ZIP IT!) 4 stars
12/12/02 Monster W. Kung Jesus Christ, what's the all-time idiot Sommersby doing in here? Fuck off! 3 stars
11/26/02 malcolm read the book, see Manhunter 3 stars
11/12/02 Phoenix A really good movie with solid performances, although I think Manhunter is better. 5 stars
11/03/02 Obi Wan Don't see why this was such a big deal . .it was slow moving and dull 3 stars
11/02/02 Monster W. Kung Well, I don't find any of the movies with Lecter very impressive. Average (like Silence). 3 stars
11/02/02 Angelo Defanti BEtter than "Manhunter" 5 stars
11/01/02 Shaun I love this movie, so much better then Manhunter 5 stars
10/26/02 j. c. really great and creepy, your attacks were too harsh 5 stars
10/25/02 Jim The Movie Freak Responds Actually you cried when you saw the size of my cock, Choadushouse 1 stars
10/21/02 marzio arigoni@rtsi.ch It's well done, but we did not need it! Mann's Manhunter was better 3 stars
10/18/02 Matthew Smith far superior than Hannibal and Manhunter, one of the year's most enjoyable thrillers 5 stars
10/16/02 .Choadushouse. Jim the Freak sucks my cock. This was good. I cried for love and intensity. 4 stars
10/15/02 Mike This guy is actually a movie reviewer? hes pretty narrow minded... 5 stars
10/14/02 KMG That's ONE FIENNES DICK you have there, Ralph! 5 stars
10/13/02 "Yes the shit." This director should be fucking killed. All the talent involved was raped by this fuck. 1 stars
10/12/02 Xxtreme Really good, way better than hannibal. Almost as good as silence of the lambs 4 stars
10/11/02 Butterbean I agree with Jim that Dolarhyde's character was underdeveloped. But its a great movie! 4 stars
10/10/02 Hawaiiantomboy07 Loved It! It was better than "Manhunter". 5 stars
10/10/02 Melina Great acting and suspense. 5 stars
10/10/02 TimmyTomorrow I thought this was a comedy! 2 stars
10/08/02 Anarchy Azmi jim...please fuck off 4 stars
10/08/02 wintermute Most of the film has thankfully started to fade from my mind. 3 stars
10/07/02 Frankie Ran circles around "Hannibal". Perfect casting! 5 stars
10/06/02 Uncle Salty Well it was better than Hannibal. Then again, the stuff in the waffle on my shoe was too. 3 stars
10/06/02 Topplebot Surprisingly not a hack piece of shit. Norton's great, story's good, Fiennes delivers again 5 stars
10/06/02 ajay very nice. 5 stars
10/06/02 Mike One of the best films so far this year. 5 stars
10/06/02 Roy Smith A great movie with a fantastic opening and a great ending! 4 stars
10/06/02 Nicole So much better than Hannibal. Everything a GOOD psychological thriller should be. 4 stars
10/05/02 jarrod_101 True to the awesome book. a bit slow moving but still very very good. 5 stars
10/05/02 Buddha Are you nuts? Hannibal sucked like a Hoover. Thankfully, this didn't. 5 stars
10/05/02 ryan phillippe gets hit by a car and it rules Hannibal didn't suck, and I hope when you say the origional you don't mean Manhunter. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  04-Oct-2002 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  24-Oct-2002




Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
eFilmCritic.com: Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast