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Red Dragon (2002)

FBI agent Will Graham is about to enter the mind of a killer. He must first let Hannibal Lecter inside his head.

Directed by:

Brett Ratner

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 119 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

Edward Norton plays Will Graham, an FBI psychological profiler famous for being the man who captured the notorious serial killer Dr Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). Lecter had been helping him track a killer known as the 'Chesapeake Ripper', who had turned out to be Lecter himself. Graham had nearly lost his life in solving that case. This time, two families have been ritually slaughtered, and although the killings have taken place a great distance apart it is clear from the similarities that they are likely to be connected. Both sets of killings took place a month apart, at the time of the full moon, which bodes ill for the next full moon three weeks away.

Although the crime scenes have been thoroughly investigated, there is little to find. Time is running out before the next time the killer, dubbed the 'Tooth Fairy', is likely to strike again, so Graham is called in to work on the case, bringing his specialist knowledge of serial killers to bear. He soon realises that he will need to quickly get inside the killer's mind and, given the shortness of time available, he seeks the assistance of his infamous old foe, the dangerous but brilliant Lecter. However, the 'Tooth Fairy' knows that Graham is on the trail, and Lecter is not averse to helping the killer win.

This is the third Lecter film to be made by Anthony Hopkins, although it is actually a prequel that introduces the character for the first time. The novel was also successfully adapted as the film 'Manhunter', some fifteen years earlier. 'Red Dragon' is a creepy thriller that very nearly recaptures the same level of suspense as Lecter's first film outing 'The Silence of the Lambs'. The format is much the same also, with the FBI agent consulting with Lecter in his cell, but this time instead of escaping Lecter is able to control events on the outside without ever leaving jail. Anthony Hopkins is astonishing once more as Lecter, a role that seems to suit him. The only sour note is that Edward Norton sometimes plays Graham as a kind of accidental hero which conflicts with his other side – the competent agent who captured Lecter in the first place.

Features the uncredited voice of Ellen Burstyn as Grandma Dolarhyde.

Based on the best-selling novel “Red Dragon” by Thomas Harris.

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It's Got: Plenty of chills and thrills.

It Needs: More consistency to the character of Graham.

DVD Extras A very fine collection of extras is included with this two-disc DVD set. Extras: Filmmakers’ commentary, Music score commentary, Characters make up, Anthony Hopkins – Lecter and Me, Making of, Deleted scenes including alternative and extended scenes, Visual effects, Screen and film tests, Burning wheelchair, FBI profile, Brett Ratner’s student film, Leeds house crime scene, Director’s journey, Storyboard to final feature comparisons. DVD-ROM Extras: Total Axess DVD Extras Rating: 8/10

Alternatives:

Manhunter, Silence of the Lambs, The Cell.

Summary

This is a fine creepy killer thriller, with Hannibal back to his best plus another outstanding killer on the loose.

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