In case you haven't read the Thomas Harris bestseller on which Scott's film is based, this finds brilliant, sophisticated, cannibalistic serial killer Dr Lecter (Hopkins) lurking in comfy pseudonymity as a Florence curator. But he's on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list, and horribly mutilated millionaire Mason Verger (Oldman), Lecter's sole surviving victim, has put a reward on his head. When Hannibal learns that his old acquaintance Clarice Starling (Moore) is being stitched up by her bosses at the Bureau, he's sufficiently sure of his secret life to write to her; but he hasn't bargained for cop Pazzi (Giannini), who has his doubts about the curator. The weight-watchers script sensibly dispenses with several characters to serve a brew that's enjoyably spicy but low on substance. So much story is squeezed into 131 minutes that little time's left for analysis or characterisation. Moore is impressive but saddled with the straight role, Hopkins ambles through, Giannini is engagingly morose, and Oldman manages to strike a fine balance between witty pastiche and wry pathos, aware that this grandiose Guignol is hokum. The bloated 'classical' score suits Harris's pretensions, while Scott wisely keeps things brisk and delivers the set pieces. Lip smacking fun, it's an improvement on the book, but it's never as rigorous, insightful or compelling as Manhunter.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Steven Zaillian, David Mamet|
Frankie R Faison