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movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Hannibal

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore
Director: Ridley Scott
Rated: R
RunTime: 131 Minutes
Release Date: February 2001
Genres: Horror, Suspense

*Also starring: Gary Oldman, Ray Liotta, Diane Baker, Giancarlo Giannini, Francesca Neri, Ivano Marescotti, Boyd Kestner

Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

I know Jodie Foster's acting. And Julianne Moore is no Jodie Foster. Moore, who may be right for some parts, is completely wrong for the intelligent but vulnerable FBI Agent Clarice Starling in HANNIBAL, the much anticipated sequel to THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. And without the right casting for Agent Starling, the movie degenerates into little more than a borefest, I mean gorefest. (Foster reportedly passed on the part because she didn't think the high blood level of the screenplay was worth her time. She was so right.)

Action director Ridley Scott (G.I. JANE) replaces the more thoughtful Jonathan Demme, who besides THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS is also known for such pictures as PHILADELPHIA. You might expect Scott to be more dramatic, which he is in sections. More often, however, HANNIBAL is paced so ploddingly that viewers will spend more time bored than grossed out. They will rarely be engrossed by the movie, which is quite tedious.

The basic plot this time has Dr. Hannibal Lecter abroad in Florence. Anthony Hopkins has a high old time collecting a large paycheck to repeat his role as a cannibal. Of course, without him the sequel probably would have never been made. Too bad he didn't hold out for more money.

Those going in for blood and gore will not be disappointed, even if they do have to endure long, dull periods between slicing and dicing. Intestines fly, and worse, much worse.

Filthy rich Mason Verger (Gary Oldman), Hannibal's only living victim, wants to find and kill him. (Agent Starling wants to find Hannibal, too, but she's equally interested in protecting the butcher from Mason.) The camera dwells on Mason's horribly disfigured face. Agent Starling doesn't mind looking at it, but does look away when he mentions God, Mason notes. This God angle turns out to be a cinematic dead end.

The script, based on Thomas Harris's novel, was worked on by the talented David Mamet (THE WINSLOW BOY) and Steven Zaillian (SCHINDLER'S LIST), but without much luck. Besides many logical problems, the dialog lacks almost any comedic punch. About the only memorable line is that Hannibal likes to "eat the rude."

"Everyone's going to be happy," Paul Krendler (Ray Liotta) tells Agent Starling about her working again on the Hannibal Lecter case. "I'm not happy!" she retorts. And neither will most viewers be, based on the disgusted comments I heard going out of my packed screening. Finally, a word of caution. If you've barely been able to stomach most of the movie, leave before the last act, which becomes a bigger barfola than a ride on an upside-down roller coaster after a greasy hamburger.

HANNIBAL runs a very long 2:11. It is rated R for strong gruesome violence, some nudity and language and would be acceptable for high school seniors and older.

Copyright 2001 Steve Rhodes

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