Director – Brett Ratner
Cast – Edward Norton, Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, Harvey Keitel, Emily Watson, Mary-Louise Parker, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anthony Heald, Ken Leung
Release Year – 2002
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Most of the time I see prequels as a bad idea, especially when they come as installments to very awesome films. The Silence of the Lambs is one of the greatest films ever made, so a prequel to that flick has a lot riding on it as far as it’s performance. Red Dragon disproved the notion that prequels are a bad idea by being a very interesting and intriguing watch. While not as amazing as The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon was an improvement over Hannibal, and gave us some very great Hannibal Lecter background and awesome character performances.
Red Dragon follows Will Graham(Edward Norton), a retired FBI Agent who left the bureau after putting away the infamous Hannibal Lecter. A new killer deemed as “The Tooth Fairy”(Ralph Fiennes) has surfaced, and is plaguing the Chicago area with gruesome and symbolic murders. Agent Jack Crawford(Harvey Keitel) convinces his former buddy Mr. Graham to join them in their hunt for “The Tooth Fairy” as a consultant. Seeing that his knowledge is one that no other FBI agent has, Mr. Graham agrees. In his search for “The Tooth Fairy” he enlists the help of none other than Dr. Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter himself. With the help of Dr. Lecter Will Graham finds himself closer to catching the elusive killer, but this killer is like no other, and Hannibal Lecter might be in on his master plan.
Much like The Silence of the Lambs, this is a story and character driven film. This flick takes off right away and engages the viewer with awesome dialogue and storyline involving Dr. Lecter and Will Graham. Once again a film is not directly set on Hannibal Lecter, yet his character is so well written and acted that he steals the starring role once again. The character of “The Tooth Fairy” was expertly portrayed by Ralph Fiennes, and gave us a great serial killer with a very interesting logic behind what he does. Every character performance in this film is very well done and is essential in keeper the viewer glued to the screen, as I was. Even shorter roles like Phillip Seymour Hoffman as reporter Freddy Lounds was expertly acted, and I would expect no less from Mr. Hoffman.
The character performances play into the great direction by Brett Ratner, who had his claim to fame with the Rush Hour trilogy. He did a pretty impressive job with this film for a guy known for his comedy/action work. Given this film’s nature, we get some pretty decent gore scenes and some sweet kills, with the “man on fire” kill being my favorite. The musical score is great and the tense scenes were perfectly executed. For a two hour film this paced very well, and I never once lost interest. Great direction and great writing can conquer all!
Overall, this is a great film that I recommend to all fans of the horror genre. Those who enjoyed The Silence of the Lambs will not be disappointed with this piece.
– I ranked this film #41 in my Top 50 Horror Movies of the Decade(41-50) post.