Red Dragon

Published on: March 23rd, 2004

RED DRAGON

a Jigsaw Lounge preview

Last year’s Hannibal may not have been many people’s idea of a masterpiece, but it raked in so much cash at the world’s box offices that no-one will be surprised to see Anthony Hopkins back for one last time as Hannibal ‘the Cannibal’ Lecter. Red Dragon is based on the first of Thomas Harris’s Lecter trilogy, in which the face-eater takes a relatively back-seat role as his FBI-agent nemesis Will Graham hunts a William Blake-obsessed serial killer. Widely regarded as the scariest of the Lecter books, Red Dragon also inspired Michael Mann‘s 1986 Manhunter: a great movie, with Brian Cox many people’s idea of the definitive Lecter. As Harris zealots never tire of pointing out, however, Manhunter covers little more than the second half of the book. Red Dragon supposedly fills in the gaps.

Other positive signs include Edward Norton replacing William Peterson as Graham, backed up by the heavyweight likes of Emily Watson, Harvey Keitel, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Ralph Fiennes. More importantly, Ted Tally – who won an Oscar for his previous Lecter adaptation Silence of the Lambs – provides the script, and the images come courtesy of ace Manhunter cinematographer Dante Spinotti. But it’s not all gravy: Dragon continues Lecter’s relentlessly progress down the directorial food-chain. After Mann (genius auteur), Lambs‘ Jonathan Demme (fine craftsman) and Hannibal‘s Ridley Scott (characterless technician) he’s now arrived at Brett Ratner, he of Rush Hour and Rush Hour 2 ‘fame.’ Then again, perhaps we shouldn’t be too snobby – back in ’86, Mann was just ‘that Miami Vice bloke,’ after all.

25th September, 2002

review coming soon!

by Neil Young
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