Hannibal (2001)
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Review Date: February 09, 2001
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: David Mamet and Steve Zaillian
Producers: Dino DeLaurentiis, Martha DeLaurentiis
Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal
Julianne Moore as Clarice
Gary Oldman as Mason Verger
Psycho serial killer/cannibal and sophisticated connaisseur of the finer things in life, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, is back in the public eye after a 10-year absence. And so is FBI agent Clarice Starling, still gunning to nail her man, while her own career heads into a downward spiral. Who else wants the madman? Plenty of folks, most of who don't play as nicely as Clarice does.
A nice revisiting of an old and really disturbed friend, featuring one of the most disgusting scenes ever to be seen on screen, another extremely creepy character played by an unrecognizable Gary Oldman, and a meatless story (no pun intended). First of all, this movie is too long at two hours and fifteen minutes. For the first hour alone, director Scott shows us that he's got a nice stylish décor set to the film, but other than Clarice staring at a computer screen and an Italian detective slowly discovering the whereabouts of Hannibal, the movie doesn't provide a whole lot of substance. Shoulda chopped into some of that, Ridley. Things only get really interesting when Hannibal makes his way back to the States and returns to doing what he loves to do best. On a side note, I thought the film handled the actual unlimited freedom provided to Hannibal to move around, extremely poorly, giving us no details on how he got on planes, relocated from country to country untraced, and got into people's homes, without any problems whatsoever. I mean, he's on the FBI's top 10 most wanted list...you'd think the airports "might" just have a mug shot of the guy lying around somewhere, especially after he commits a murder in one country and is obviously set to flee!

Any-poo, that aside, the film worked for me as whole, with its continued ambiguous relationship between killer and hunter re-igniting the original movie's innuendos, and many other interesting characters rattling about. For instance, is anyone ever going to forget the character that Gary Oldman plays in this movie? Yikes! Whatta creepy, creepy individual! Seriously sick in the head (and you thought Hannibal was messed up?). There's also the Italian police officer, played masterfully by Giancarlo Giannini, who gave the film a different perspective during its first half, as the man searching for recognition in his own life. In fact, the weakest character in this whole film was probably Clarice herself. I could certainly see why Jodie Foster turned this role down, as not much of the character's true inner-feelings are revealed any more in this film. In fact, she almost felt like a passenger in this movie. Hannibal the Cannibal was once again played with obvious enjoyment by Anthony Hopkins, but I was personally taken "out of the film" every time he made one of his many eating puns. Okay, we get the picture, you like to eat people...enough with the sly insinuations already...they're just distracting!

And God oh mighty, I cannot discuss this picture without mentioning its final 15 minutes, which are without a doubt, the most memorable moments of any movie that I've seen in recent times. Not memorable in a "good" way though. I won't ruin it here, but needless to say, I was seriously repulsed by the scenario which took place near the end of this picture. Truly disgusted! Definitely not for the weak of stomach. In fact, the MPAA should be lobotomized for not rating this thing as an NC-17 (while fluffy T&A fare like SHOWGIRLS get the tag). What the hell are they thinking?!? Nuff said. But overall, I enjoyed this trip down memory lane and certainly enjoyed revisiting this character to see what he was like now. I would've preferred that Foster play her character again, if only because of the continuity distraction, but Moore was solid with what little her character was given to handle. The film is not a classic by any means, but will most likely be remembered by many who see it, and not necessarily for the best of reasons. I enjoyed the whole style of the movie, liked the actors and the "creepy" factor, but was bothered by the absence of Foster, the plot holes and the length of the film. But not enough to turn me off completely. Recommendable to fans of character-based "thrillers" with a touch of the disgusting, but not on the same suspense level as the first installment. And definitely more style over substance.

BTW, pay close attention and you will hear screenwriter David Mamet's obvious homage to JoBlo himself. About halfway through the movie, Liotta's character is heard to say, "You're JoBlo!". It's an homage...I'm sure of it!! ;)
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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