It Came From Netflix - Hannibal Review
This entry continues my series of reviews of films that can be watching through the streaming program, Netflix. We all know who Hannibal Lecter is. The character has had five films, and now a very popular television show. It is a bit strange how we can love someone who is just so evil, but he is truly an incredible character. When we think of him we also think of the legendary performance that Anthony Hopkins delivers in the role of the cannibal. The first film that comes to mind when we think of him is Silence of the Lambs. There was indeed a sequel, one that was not as well received due to some changes behind the camera and it front of it, but overall it still has Hopkins in the role that we love oh so much. The changes between Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal were most notably that Clarice Starling is no longer portrayed by Jodie Foster. In comes Julianne Moore in the role. There was even a change in director going from Jonathan Demme to Ridley Scott. Both had been met with mixed reactions from fans but that can be expected when it took ten years to make the sequel.
The film largely follows Clarice Starling (Julianne Moore) following the success of tracking down serial killer Jame Gumb ten years ago, and now she finds herself unjustly blamed for a drug raid gone wrong. It makes her question the department she now works for as the politics of the job seems to be getting in the way of carrying out justice. Starling then gets the attention of Hannibal Lecter's only surviving victim, Mason Verger (Gary Oldman). Verger is a wealthy and powerful man who uses his money and political influence to have Starling re-assigned to Hannibal's case. Verger has an elaborate plan brewing to exact his revenge on Hannibal for permanently disfiguring him. A key cog in his plan, is to use Starling to help bring Hannibal out from the shadows. Verger uses his immeasurably weatlh and eventually gets Starling suspended with the help of Justice Department officer Paul Krendler (Ray Liotta), who seemingly has a grudge against Starling.
Meanwhile in Florence, we find Hannibal is hiding out under the guise of the assistant curator and caretaker of a library. Detective Rinaldo Pazzi is looking into the sudden disappearance of one of the curators and questions Hannibal. Something seems a bit off about the character so Pazzi looks into him and quickly pieces together who he is. Pazzi gets closer and closer to him trying to bring him down for the reward of three million dollars. Ultimately, as we all could expect, pride can be man's biggest downfall. This, however, does inevitably lead Hannibal to reuniting with Starling. Hannibal revels in the fact that Starling is struggling so much with her place inside the bureau as he continues to play upon the doubt that she has inside herself. Above all else, he just wants her to run away with him.
I love the character of Hannibal Lecter. I love the performance that Anthony Hopkins gives in both this film and Silence of the Lambs. I love the atmosphere of these stories created by Thomas Harris. However, this film just completely fell flat. The blame has to fall upon the shoulders of Ridley Scott behind the camera. The film takes too long to get going and frequently moves too slowly. Pacing is it's biggest issue and many fans will also point to Julianne Moore as Clarice. It is strange to see her in the role when so many view Jodie Foster as THE Clarice Starling but it can be unfair to judge one's performance based off of another one that was given ten years before. At times the most annoying part of her performance was her voice, it seemed as if she tried to hard to have the same tone and delivery as Jodie Foster. Thus it often felt that instead of giving Moore's interpretation of the character, she simply tried to emulate Foster's portrayal. The film's best moments of course features Hopkins where he shines so bright in the shoes of our favorite cannibal. All in all the film is still watchable thanks to him, but all the parts not involving him, leave a lot to be desired.