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Red Dragon (2002)

R · 124 minutes

Directed by Brett Ratner
Written by Ted Tally(screenplay), Thomas Harris(novel)

 · Edward Norton
 · Ralph Fiennes
 · Anthony Hopkins
 · Emily Watson

Review by The Gnome (Billy Dal Porto)

Red Dragon is the third installment of the twisted trilogy of Hannibal Lecter, but just like Silence Of The Lambs, Red Dragon does not focus entirely on Hannibal(which is probably the main reason Hannibal failed). Red Dragon rather focuses on Francis Dolarhyde (Ralph Fiennes) and Will Graham (Edward Norton). Francis has murdered, and mutilated, two families in succession with the full moon, and Graham must capture this cryptic killer before the next full moon arrives. Graham, however, cannot do it without the help of a man that had helped him before--a man that is a mutilator in his own right--Hannibal Lecter(Anthony Hopkins). At the same time, Dolarhyde seems to be going through some sort of change with his newly found friend Reba McClane (Emily Watson), throwing him into an inner struggle.




Visually, the movie is haunting. Every scene with Dolarhyde gave me chills beyond belief. Ralph Fiennes did such an amazing job of playing Dolarhyde that I almost have trouble believing him as anything else now(especially a distinguised gentlemen that falls for someone like Jennifer Lopez, but I won't get into that).

Edward Norton's character has many demons, which is one of the many reasons he does not want to be a part of this case. It's also the reason he knows he has to be part of it. Norton conveys this so well, showing us exactly how Graham thinks. He's very different than Agent Starling in the sense that he refuses to negotiate with Hannibal. He's cold, callous, and does not like to waste time to play games, which makes him the perfect foil for Anthony Hopkins' character. Hannibal is at his best, back into Hopkins true element in the prison, locked up. Although, we're able to see the biggest difference between Hannibal Lecter and 'The Cannibal'... composure. While Hannibal cares much about what people think of him and what is believed about him, 'The Cannibal' could very much care less. It's almost as if Hannibal Lecter has split personalities.

The attraction story between Dolarhyde and Reba McClane is well written and performed. Where as most movies faulter due to their love stories these days, this one is twisted enough to maintain the darkness that this movie is trying to put past the screen.

If I had to nitpick, the only downers would probably be that Norton's acting does fall a little short of expectations at times. He loses all depth for certain amounts of time and it just draws away from Graham... he just becomes Edward Norton again. But the rest of this cast easily makes up for this shortcoming.




The movie itself is terrifying. The images conveyed through the cold descriptions Will Graham mentions can make the skin crawl, which really makes the movie all that more interesting. Scenes in which Dolarhyde seems to struggle between himself and what he believes himself to be are almost just as much a struggle for the viewer as it is for him. You really want to see him change halfway into the movie. There are even certain parts where I just felt completely sorry for him. Reba does her best to turn Dolarhyde around, befriending him and making him feel accepted. She's so secure about herself and so confident, but the only think keeping you from hoping Dolarhyde and McClane do fall in love is the danger that you know she's in. The story is so suspenseful and so thrilling that you will, for lack of a better cliché, be left on the edge of your seat.



If you loved the book, you'll love the movie. It captures everything Thomas Harris had written: the horror, the disgust, the love. Everything. So, in closing, it's a great movie with an amazing cast and a chilling story. Red Dragon is a must see by all means.

634 Words · Published: 5 December 2002

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