Release Date: February 09, 2001
Audience: Older teenagers & adults
Runtime: 131 minutes
Director: Ridley Scott
Executive Producer: Branko Lustig
Writer: David Mamet & Steven Zaillian
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Santa Monica, CA 90404-3061
Anthony Hopkins stars once again as Dr. Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter, the wily serial killer from SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. In that first movie, the imprisoned Dr. Lecter helps FBI Agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) catch another serial killer. At the end, Lecter violently escapes his prison cell.
In HANNIBAL, Julianne Moore of MAGNOLIA now plays Agent Starling. Starling is put back on Dr. Lecter’s case 10 years later after a drug bust she leads goes wrong. Meanwhile, Dr. Lecter is now at large in Italy, enjoying his liberty in an unguarded world. He has to watch his step, however, because there’s a $3 million reward for his capture. Financing this sum is Mason Verger, a rich man with clout in Washington, D.C. and Dr. Lecter’s sixth victim, the only one who’s survived.
Horribly disfigured, Verger (an unrecognizable Gary Oldman) has special plans for Dr. Lecter when he catches up with him. Those plans involve tying Dr. Lecter up so he can be eaten slowly by wild pigs bred solely for that purpose. Verger realizes that, in order to draw Lecter out into the open, he must dangle an irresistible bait, Agent Starling. Verger draws Justice Department official Paul Krendler (Ray Liotta) into his vengeful scheme with promises of money and power. All this plotting leads to a violent, gruesome ending.
There’s plenty of violent material in HANNIBAL to satisfy the jaded audience of today’s movies. In addition to the aforementioned wild pigs feasting on human flesh, viewers of HANNIBAL will also have the “pleasure” of watching a man get disemboweled and seeing the top of a man’s skull pealed off so Dr. Lecter can cook part of the man’s brain.
All these things are bad enough, of course, but not enough to satisfy the writers and filmmakers of this trash.
First of all, they turn the FBI into a despicable organization totally at the mercy of political corruption. In two scenes, Dr. Lecter mentally torments Agent Starling about the agency’s lack of honor.
Secondly, the Paul Krendler character not only is corrupt, he also thinks Dr. Lecter has homosexual tendencies. Agent Starling scoffs at Krendler’s politically incorrect views. She asks Krendler if he hates her because he refused his sexual advances years before by telling him to go home to his wife. Krendler then makes a nasty sexual remark about Starling. Thus, the homosexual hater also turns out to be a woman hater and adulterer.
Finally, there is an anti-Christian bias in this movie that does nothing to further the story or enhance the characters.
For example, Verger tells Starling at one point that being victimized by Hannibal Lecter has been his salvation because he, Verger, now believes in Jesus Christ. By seeking violent, un-Christian revenge against his nemesis, however, Verger has become as despicable as Hannibal. It’s no wonder, therefore, that Agent Starling becomes uncomfortable at Verger’s self-righteous, hypocritical proclamation of faith in Jesus Christ.
At another point in the movie, Hannibal informs Agent Starling and Paul Krendler that the Apostle Paul, like Krendler, also hated women. This is another false, vicious slander against Jesus Christ, who personally chose Paul as an Apostle, and against Paul himself. It’s a further example of the hateful, satanic, anti-Christian bigotry that has seeped into the Hollywood community. Paul, by the way, says in Gal. 3:28 that all people in Christ are equal children of God and names both men and women!
HANNIBAL also is not a very well-made movie. The worst of the violence in the movie is lurid, sickening, pointless, and completely gratuitous rather than enlightening, cathartic, exciting, or even titillating. In addition, story elements regarding Dr. Lecter’s final days in Italy are left dangling, much like the corpse of Dr. Lecter’s final victim there. The movie also never reveals any truly insightful reasons behind Dr. Lecter’s apparent need to gruesomely torture people while killing them. It is said that he hates rude, greedy and dishonorable people, but these reasons are merely excuses for his murderous behavior. Finally, Starling’s character is mostly undeveloped here, which gives Julianne Moore little to do beyond looking scared, upset and put upon, not to mention a couple opportunities to strike stereotypical Feminist Cop poses. Perhaps a better actress (Jodie Foster, maybe?) could have done better, but we’ll give Ms. Moore the benefit of the doubt.
On a side note, it is also despicable that HANNIBAL did not rate an NC-17 from Jack Valenti’s Motion Picture Association for its gruesome climax. This makes the MPAA complicit in HANNIBAL’s cannibalization of all sense of decency. It’s become increasing clear in the last few years that the rating system for movies, which was devised mostly by self-interested businessmen, has become totally meaningless as well as ineffective.
HANNIBAL is a thoroughly despicable movie, and, it’s not very well-made, either. The worst of the violence in the movie is lurid, sickening, pointless, and completely gratuitous rather than enlightening, cathartic, exciting, or even titillating. Also, story elements are left dangling, and Starling’s character becomes a mere victim who takes politically correct stands in favor of homosexuals and women. HANNIBAL’s romantic worldview also includes an anti-Christian bias that slanders Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul.