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Red Dragon, Review

Updated on March 1, 2020

Red Dragon

2002, *****, Suspense-Drama

This is the film before young FBI agent Clarice Starling came into the picture with Hannibal Lector. While made out of sequence like Star Wars IV, V, and VI, Red Dragon is a riveting and intense detective film, that in my view ranks among the top of contemporary detective dramas. The chronological sequence of the Hannibal Lector movies is Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs, and finally Hannibal. All are great movies.

Red Dragon starts in Baltimore Maryland, where FBI profiler agent Will Graham (Norton) is working on a bizarre multi-murder case. He discovers a pattern of events, and that these murders are being executed by a very cunning and intelligent maniac.

He goes to Dr. Hannibal Lector, a very notable psychiatrist with whom he has been working to obtain some professional insight in refining the profile of the killer. During this visit Graham realizes that Lector is in fact the ‘killer cannibal' he has been looking for and Lector realizes Graham is on to him. Graham gets stabbed severely but he is able to shoot Lector. The cannibal is caught and Graham and retires on a medical from the FBI and is proclaimed a hero.

Subsequently, Graham is asked by FBI agent Crawford (Harvey Keitel) if he could offer his insight on another murder mystery. Two families have been murdered, in different states but with some similarities. The Bureau is stumped and really wants Graham to help on the case. But here's the catch, Graham must go to Lector for information, and find out if he knows how the killer is ‘choosing his victims' (the families). Lector (Hopkins) is all knowing and Graham knows that he will help lead him to the Red Dragon (Fiennes). Even though Grahams wife doesn't want him to go and is scared to death for his safety he feels obligated to help his old colleagues solve these murders.

This is suspense at its very best! It is scary, chilling, and makes you want to get into forensics or investigative journalism. Norton is fantastic! Hopkins and Fiennes are excellent as well. It's definitely a movie you will watch from time to time and one for any well rounded movie collection.


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