Based on Thomas Harris’ book Red Dragon this is the Hannibal Lecter film starring someone other than Anthony Hopkins as the creepy serial killer. Brian Cox (Troy, Braveheart) takes on the scenery munching role. Despite the fact that it was not very popular at the box office and that you cannot picture anyone but Mr. Hopkins in the role I will stand by my assertion that this is a decent film.
Retiring to Florida with his wife Molly (Kim Greist – Brazil, Throw Momma From the Train) and young son (David Seaman), former FBI profiler Will Graham (William Peterson – from television’s CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) is looking forward to some rest and relaxation. No such luck as his former boss Jack Crawford (Dennis Farina – Snatch, Saving Private Ryan) calls him back to work to help the FBI track down and capture a serial killer.
The press has dubbed this serial killer “The Tooth Fairy”. His modus operatus is on the nights of full moons to break into a family’s house and kill them all while leaving bite marks on their bodies. In order to get some insight into the mind of the killer William meets with Dr. Hannibal Lecter. The imprisoned, psychotic, but brilliant man (and former serial killer himself) was caught by William years ago in a case that nearly drove William to the brink of insanity and death.
Lecter sometimes helps William, but other times sends him down the wrong path. William is in a race against time in his attempts to figure out who The Tooth Fairy is before the next full moon occurs and more lives are lost.
Brian Cox does a good job in the Hannibal Lecter role. He makes him almost normal and allows the viewer to believe and understand how he was able to remain anonymous in order to elude authorities for so long. Yes, Anthony Hopkins was brilliant in his turn as Dr. Lecter, but in the pursuit of objectivity you would have to admit that Cox does a good job, though different, as well. Cox’s Hannibal is just as creepy, but in different ways. This Dr. Lecter is every bit the psychopath that he is in The Silence of the Lambs. He is without compassion for other humans and yet, on the surface, acts like a normal human being. It makes him even that much more dangerous and scary as he can blend in with everyone else. A killer combination of coldly intellectual, but sneaky.
Using the two intelligent lead characters to build the story around, Michael Mann’s (Public Enemies, Miami Vice) film is a satisfying cat-and-mouse game. Never lowering its standards to tell its story, the film’s every element lends itself to create the tense atmosphere required. Even the rock soundtrack utilized by Mann lends to the effect he is trying to create.
-The Manhunter’s Look
-Director’s Cut (of film)