Magazine article Newsweek

Knock, Knock. Who's There? A Stylish 'Hannibal' Comes Calling, but Doesn't Deliver

Magazine article Newsweek

Knock, Knock. Who's There? A Stylish 'Hannibal' Comes Calling, but Doesn't Deliver

Article excerpt

Hannibal Lecter, being a connoisseur of fine wines, Renaissance art, and dapper Borsalino hats, would have liked the idea of Ridley Scott directing the long-awaited sequel to "The Silence of the Lambs." Scott, as we know from "Blade Runner" and "Gladiator," is a visual stylist par excellence. Every frame of his movies has to look just so. "Hannibal" was shot in Florence, Italy (where the cannibalistic Lecter is masquerading as art expert Dr. Fell), in Washington, D.C. (where FBI agent Clarice Starling is based), and on the grand Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C. (where Lecter's victim and nemesis, billionaire Mason Verger, plots his revenge on the man who de-skinned his face), and it looks gorgeous. Scott conjures atmospheres that are baroquely seductive. He also gives us sights--Verger's grotesquely disfigured face; a man with the top of his head cut off, revealing a red pulsing brain that Lecter intends to saute for dinner--that make one cringe with disgust.

That's the good news. Unfortunately, what neither Scott nor screenwriters David Mamet and Steve Zaillian have been able to extract from Thomas Harris's problematical novel is a good story. "Hannibal" is strikingly devoid of suspense. It's not always clear who's the protagonist and who's the antagonist. Nor is it scary--at its most intense moments, it's merely yucky.

Verger (wittily played by an unrecognizable and uncredited Gary Oldman) uses his considerable resources to flush Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) out of hiding, using Clarice (Julianne Moore) as bait. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.