A lot of people said
that Jodie Foster and director Jonathan Demme were crazy for bailing out
on this sure-fire hit sequel to The Silence of the Lambs. Well,
theyre both looking pretty smart right about now. Now its the rest of
us that have to put up with this wasted opportunity.
isnt the worst horror film ever
even this winter
but we expected so
much more. After all, it has a hot director in Ridley Scott (fresh from
his over-rated spectacle HannibalGladiator), a screenplay co-written by
David Mamet, arguably the best writer of this generation. Theres an
Academy Award caliber cast featuring Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Ray Liotta
and Gary Oldman (well, okay, Oldmans overacting hasnt been an asset to
a film in many years, but it once was
The problem is very simple, this
very well-made and acted film simply forgets every single thing that
made the original film work. The Silence of the Lambs was
horrifying for what it didnt show, not what it showed. You almost never
actually saw a violent act in that film, and yet it was amazingly
creepy. Hannibal is almost wall-to-wall disgusting gore, but
instead of horror it mostly inspires revulsion and frankly a near-comic
disbelief. The eating of human brains isnt scary, its a geek show.
was also a mistake to let Hannibal Lecter run free. Most of his power as
a villain was how dangerous he was as a caged animal. Walking amongst
Italian museums and piazzas in a dandyish suit with a middle-aged
paunch, he doesnt seem like an unstoppable force of evil.
He seems like
Tom Wolfe moonlighting as a serial killer.
Julianne Moore is a fine
actress and does what she can with the character of Clarice Starling,
but frankly the character is way too closely connected to Foster to
allow her any chance to pull it off. An almost unrecognizably made-up
Gary Oldman is his normal way-over-the-top villain
Have you ever heard
the word subtlety, Gary?
All in all, Hannibal is a misfire on all
levels. Congratulations, Jodie Foster, you sure called it right by
avoiding this one. (2/01)
Jay S. Jacobs
All rights reserved. Revised:
August 22, 2019.