Time: 124 Minutes
Age Rating: Horror Scenes and Violence
Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter
Edward Norton as Will Graham
Ralph Fiennes as Francis Dolarhyde
Emily Watson as Reba McClane
Harvey Keitel as Jack Crawford
Mary-Louise Parker as Molly Graham
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Freddy Lounds
Director: Brett Ratner
A set of grisly murders brings FBI Agent Will Graham (Edward Norton) out of retirement and puts him in search of an atrocious killer (Ralph Fiennes) who’s driven by the image of a painting. Yet his only means of survival and success are to seek the help of another madman, whom he himself captured, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). Marked by past scars and quickly running out of time, Graham finds himself tangled in a heap of madness, sacrificing his work, his family, and above all his own life, to put an end to pure evil.
When people think of great Hannibal Lecter movies, most people think of Silence of the Lambs and in the case of lesser Lecter films, Hannibal and Hannibal Rising. However I’ve noticed that Red Dragon has often went under the radar, I don’t know whether it’s because of director Brett Ratner’s involvement or the fact that it has competition against a great film. I have to say that in my opinion, Red Dragon is one of the most underrated movies of all time. It’s got great acting, an interesting story and the movie really should have more notice than it has.
Brett Ratner is directing this movie and that could’ve had some cause for concern has he hadn’t made a lot of great movies but he actually did the movie quite well. I thought that the Francis Dolarhyde storyline was well handled, it showed his layers and elevated Ralph Fieness’s great performance (I’ll get to that later). I think one of the only flaws I can find in the movie is the fact that aside from his scenes with Hannibal, Will isn’t given as much depth as he should have. The film was mostly focussed on Francis Dolarhyde and while it was understandable, I felt that a lot of Will’s qualities should’ve also been shown in this movie. You don’t really see these events affecting will as much in other Will Grahams like in NBC’s Hannibal, he’s still quite in control of himself. I still do think that he was written fine, it’s just that they could’ve handled him a little better.
Edward Norton makes for a great Will Graham, even though I said that a lot of his character’s qualities could’ve been handled better he still does good work with what he has. Ralph Fiennes also makes for an interesting and complex villain, giving him many layers and allows us to get into his character’s head. Anthony Hopkins returns to the role and as usual is great as the creepy and calculating Hannibal Lecter. I personally like the connection between Will and Hannibal in this movie more than the one between Clarice and Hannibal in Silence of the Lambs, that’s just me. Other actors like Harvey Keitel, Emily Watson and Phillip Seymour Hoffman do great work as well, particularly Watson, who has a major part in the Francis Dolarhyde story.
This film is shot and directed greatly, everything has such a sleek and stylish look. The sets and production designs are fantastic and while they’re very similar to Silence of the Lambs, I thought it elevated the movie. I also love Danny Elfman’s soundtrack, it really added to all the scenes and infused all of them with suspense.
Red Dragon has excellent acting, a great story, a pretty good story and after watching it a second time I can’t believe that it flew so under the radar. I know that this is a big thing to say but I honestly consider Red Dragon on the same level as Silence of the Lambs. If you liked Silence of the Lambs and haven’t checked out Red Dragon yet for whatever reason, do so as soon as possible, you won’t be disappointed.