Hannibal

"OK"

Hannibal Review


10 years ago to this day, Hannibal Lecter burned himself into our memory, our catchphrases, and our popular culture, and now, he sits at the head of the table once again, packing movie theatres, dominating dinner conversations, and prompting people to try fava beans. With the release of Hannibal, one of the most anticipated films in the past two years, we're forced to reassess a budding franchise -- much like we did with Star Wars: Episode I.

Hannibal is not that refined, deeply charming, and psychological suspenseful yarn we met behind bars in Silence of the Lambs' Baltimore mental ward, three steps up from Bedlam. It is instead a slasher flick with a slice of culture and a psycho killer with a bit of panache, a shoot-em-up with a little suaveness.

Hannibal begins by stealing the Big Brother surveillance credits from Enemy of the State, then launches into a wonderfully filmed but otherwise dull DEA/FBI/ATF/cops vs. drug dealer shootout stolen from half a dozen sleek action films. It then degenerates into a cat-and-mouse chase (more spying, more sleek assassin-style killings, much less charm) a la Eye of the Beholder. And just as we're starting to get annoyed with Gary Oldman's turn as The Man Without a Face (if he were a former victim of our antihero who then became a bitter old prick who found Christ), out come the cannibalistic pigs.

Hannibal is the kind of horror film that's just a step above ludicrous slasher pic. There's very little actual psychology to it, a plethora of spooky "jump" moments and violin crescendos, and characters that develop no more than the previous film had already done.

And were it not for the fact that Hannibal does have the few things many slasher stories lack: rustic charm, incredibly stylistic directing, and one of the better orchestral scores I've recently heard (Hans Zimmer does a very creepy arrangement on a well-known aria that just makes your skin crawl), it would be the type of movie which would have audiences running for the exits midway through.

What we're left with is just the kind of film that will bore you for the first hour and either grosses you out or makes you bowl over laughing during the second.

Unlike Silence and Manhunter before it, there's nothing intelligent about Hannibal. The dark humor is a notch above fart and dick jokes (eg. Starling gets a letter from the Guinness Book of World Records congratulating her on being the female FBI agent who has shot and killed the most people) and Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) has become nothing short of a caricature. Instead of the cold, calculated fellow we met a decade ago, we are given the sort of clumsy serial killer that wouldn't survive in the real world. Lecter's evil shifts from a disturbing psychological malignance to a straight-out killer are baffling. The New Lecter doesn't play any games and doesn't mess with anyone's head other than Clarice Starling. He even has the obligatory scene (twice) where he calmly walks away from a murder. Rather than being the menace that once picked his victims with care, Lector acts like he's simply out to double his record of 14 victims, and he falls just slightly short of his goal.

As far as Clarice goes, Julianne Moore slips into Jodie Foster's Nikes in a way that may precipitate a Celebrity Deathmatch between the duo, but Moore handles the role well, considering what the book was. Hannibal's Starling is more battle-hardened, and Moore performs this caricature fairly well. If she only had the West Virginia accent down (she sounds more like a Californian doing an impression of a trailer park girl), we might like her even more. As it is, she simply does a so-so job with a complicated character by playing it to the lowest common denominator (at one point she even wears a very low-cut miniskirt to a meeting with someone who had earlier sexually harassed her).

As far as whether Clarice and Lecter ever hook up, let me say simply that Hannibal is a lot like a bad episode of The X-Files. Plenty of mystery and more than a few open ended questions, leaving us plenty of room for another sequel.

(Also note: stick around for the credits to hear Hannibal's ta-ta.)

Do you hear the bleating of the audience?



Hannibal

Facts and Figures

Run time: 131 mins

In Theaters: Friday 9th February 2001

Box Office USA: $163.9M

Box Office Worldwide: $165.1M

Budget: $87M

Distributed by: MGM

Production compaines: MGM, Universal Pictures, Dino de Laurentiis Cinematografica, Scott Free Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 39%
Fresh: 64 Rotten: 100

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Hannibal Lecter, as Clarice Starling, as Mason Verger, as Paul Krendler, as FBI Agent Pearsall, as Barney Matthews, as Insp. Renaldo Pazzi, as Allegra Pazzi, as Dr. Cordell Doemling, Hazelle Goodman as Evelda Drumgo, as FBI Asst. Director Noonan, James Opher as DEA Agent John Eldridge, Enrico Lo Verso as Gnocco, as Carlo, Fabrizio Gifuni as Matteo, as Verger's Fingerprint Technician

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.