After secreting his chianti in the cabinet for nearly a decade, Anthony Hopkins has uncorked Hannibal Lecter's choice tipple twice in three years - first in Hannibal and now in this prequel to Silence of the Lambs. Michael Mann filmed Thomas Harris' novel as Manhunter in 1986; the feeling is that Brian Cox, Mann's acclaimed Lecter, might be Hopkins' real intended victim - that he wants Lecter for himself, lock, stock and two smoking kidneys. The plot centres on Will Graham (Norton), the angsty Fed who first put Lecter behind bars. Now, another nut, the Tooth Fairy, is howling at the moon, and Graham wants Lecter to help with inquiries. Where Mann and Demme steered the hokum away from dull genre generalities, Ratner's point-and-film literalness churns out a thriller by rote, shorn of the psychological dogfighting that distinguished the first two films. Positives? The cast look brilliant on the fly poster, and might as well have remained there for all the depth they bring to the film. It's a shoddy show all round, but big names, budgets and reputations reap their reward. In attempting to lay to rest a rival, Hopkins might have buried his own massive and memorable construction.
Cast and crew
Philip Seymour Hoffman