Eat up! Hannibal (Hopkins) prepares a particularly grisly meal for Clarice (Moore).

dir Ridley Scott
scr David Mamet, Steven Zaillian
with Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, Ray Liotta, Giancarlo Giannini, Zeljko Ivanek, Francesca Neri, Frankie R Faison, David Andrews, Ivano Marescotti, Hazelle Goodman, Mark Margolis
release US 9.Feb.01; UK 16.Feb.01
Universal-MGM 01/US 2h11 3 out of 5 stars
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The third Hannibal Lecter film (after 1986's Manhunter and 1991's Silence of the Lambs) is actually the first in which the cultured, cannibalistic serial killer takes centre stage. And the result is more than a little unsettling. We pick up the action 10 years later; FBI agent Clarice Starling (Moore) is engulfed in media controversy surrounding a bust gone wrong when the spectre of Dr Lecter (Hopkins) comes back to haunt her in the form of one of Lecter's few surviving victims, the millionaire Mason Verger (an uncredited, unrecognisable Oldman) who's so hell-bent on revenge that he's hired farmers in Sardinia to train wild pigs to eat humans so he can capture Lecter and feed him to them. Meanwhile, the good doctor himself is working in Florence, where he's piqued the interest of a local cop (Giannini) who can't resist Verger's huge reward. Soon the cat-and-mouse game is afoot. Who will Hannibal eat first?

Admittedly, The Silence of the Lambs is a hard film to follow. But with Scott, Mamet and Zaillian on board this could have been not only a worthy follow-up, but also a solid thriller in its own right. It is expertly assembled by the Gladiator team--cinematographer John Mathieson, composer Hans Zimmer, editor Pietro Scala, costume designer Janty Yates. The look is fantastic, and the suspense builds powerfully as the story twists and turns, bringing out each character's dark side with a slight streak of black humour that keeps the chills running up and down our spines. But that's all there is. Besides standard cinematic shorthand and obvious references scattered throughout the film, there's no motivation or meaning in any of the characters. Moore gets the only role with any emotional depth, and she's excellent; while Hopkins floats creepily through each scene, but never expands Lecter in any way. And the real shame is that the film never gets under our skin--we never feel the danger, fear or invasive mental cleverness of the previous films. This is just an exercise in horror, complete with wonky plotting and graphic violence that is purely gratuitous (and unspeakably awful) in at least two instances. Like many sequels, it's a slick, well-crafted film ... with no soul.
very strong violence and gore, adult themes, language cert 18 7.Feb.01

break the silence R E A D E R   R E V I E W S

"Had to see this movie, like I had to read the book. Who hasn't wondered what would happen in a sequel? A lot of people want to see what happened with Hannibal Lecter, one of the creepiest, most complex characters I have ever seen/met/read about. What I did not know was that it would take 10 years. Now, after saying all that, I have to say I am disappointed. I was disappointed with the book--hated the ending and felt it was just gore and a journey into how disgusting some people's minds can be. However, I felt the movie left out some pieces I felt would have been better left in, like a clearer explanation of why the dogs were there eating Verger's face - he was a cruel little rich kid who had penned up two dogs, and was starving them to see if they would eventually eat each other. The movie kinda slid over that part, almost making us feel sorry for Vargas' disfigurement, caused by the evil Dr send your review to Shadows... Lecter. Verger is not someone you should feel sorry for! And knowing the end, I had to cover my eyes - which I never do - because I knew what was coming. But I will also say that I did like the movie ending better than the book; actually, the movie ending was one of the coolest parts - the book shoud have ended that way. All I can say about this movie is go see if you have been just dying to see what happens to Dr Lecter, but please have a strong or empty stomach. I am not sure if all that graphic violence is necessary - in the book or the movie - and sometimes want to return to the 'old days' when they let your imagination picture it. And my imagination is always worse than they can do on screen! But Dr Lecter is a gruesome guy, with no respect for human life. This movie tells what happens, but it is quite gory. Time will tell if this is what audiences want or not - but this sequel was not nearly as good as the original, sorry to say." --Laurie T, Minneapolis 10.Feb.01.
2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall