Red Dragon


Red Dragon, the fifth film based on Thomas Harris’ books, brings us full circle… the origins of Lecter are revealed, and we are treated to an excellent adaptation that is both thrilling and intriguing.

I love The Silence of the Lambs – it remains in my top ten, and was one of the first films I saw as an independent young man. I went on to read the books, watched Manhunter, and then eagerly awaited Hannibal. Although I found it much the lesser of the films, it did have some superb Lecter material. It was, however, absurdly over the top, and I was never quite able to stomach Julianne Moore as Clarice Starling. Thus, when Red Dragon was announced, I approached it with some caution – Lambs was so wonderful, but Hannibal quite inferior – how would this remake of Manhunter work out?

I ended up seeing it three times in the first weeks of its cinema release, once here and twice in Scotland. Perfectly paced, and featuring an excellent performance from the ever-reliable Edward Norton, this vastly outshone Hannibal, and returned us to much more familiar and beloved territory. Thank goodness!

The cast is almost perfect, Hopkins, Norton, Fiennes, Watson… even Mary-Louise Parker and Philip Seymour Hoffman shine. The old favourites are back, Dr Chiltern and Barney. I guess it’s a shame Crawford wasn’t played by Scott Glenn, but we can’t have everything! The cast we do have are universally excellent, with Norton in particular being wonderful. He deserves all the acclaim he gets.

Whilst the soundtrack is not quite as memorable as that of Hannibal, (I still listen to Vide Cor Meum from time to time), it is still very good, and the editing and cinematography are capable if not outstanding.

I guess there are a few moments that don’t quite ring true for me, but to comment much further would breach Stuart’s spoiler policy, and that might get nasty. Suffice it to say, then, that there are several scenes where the dialogue and acting don’t quite hit their mark. Nonetheless, this is an excellent film, and a worthy addition to the Lecter stable.

Rating: 3.5 stars
Review by Mark Lavercombe, 1st January 1970
Hoopla Factor: 3.5 stars

Stuart talked about Silence of the Lambs on Chatflixpodcast.

Shaun of the Dead