A Film Review: ‘Hannibal’ (2001)

Hannibal is the second film to be adapted from author Thomas Harris’ ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ trilogy and follows on from the events of the 1991 movie of the same name.

The plot centres upon the antics of the darkly fascinating cannibal Dr Hannibal Lector; as he continues to evade the authorities who hunt him. Since escaping the mental institution where he was imprisoned for decades, he has been placed on the Ten Most Wanted list and is being pursued by deformed millionaire Mason Venger, (played by Gary Oldman) who seeks revenge after an ill-fated meeting with Lector years earlier.

Sir Anthony Hopkins once again lends his incredible talents to the role of Hannibal, who has emerged from retirement to play a strange game of hide and seek with the now disgraced federal agent Clarisse Starling; as she longs to regain the respect of her fellow officers. In this 2001 sequel, the role of Clarisse is played by Julianne Moore and the recasting of leading  the actress is an initial shock, especially considering Jodie Foster’s show-stopping performance in the first movie. Thankfully any of the viewers’ doubts are soon shattered as Moore embodies the part and the plot progresses without a sign of artistic comprise.

Hopkins does not only play the character of Dr Lector but he becomes him, mutating into the cannibal and inhabiting every psychotic facet of the character’s being. The film is shot with exquisite attention to detail at the hands of filmmaker Ridley Scott who takes the reins from ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ director, Jonathan Demme. Scott emphasises Hopkins’ skill with a number of relentlessly bloodthirsty scenes that showcase the outstanding combination of terror and intrigue which the actor evokes from the audience. Though the gore of the movie isn’t as outright as some of cinema’s latest offerings, the violence is so carefully added that the viewers’ mind enhances the impact of the film’s darkest scenes.

The artistic talents of the cast and filmmakers make this one of the most classic sequels of all-time. The acting is so powerful that even when Hannibal performs unthinkable acts of violence, there is still a spark of admiration for the remarkable intellect which lies within one of Hollywood’s most famous villains.



3 thoughts on “A Film Review: ‘Hannibal’ (2001)

  1. I’ll be honest in that I thought Hannibal a poor follow on from the sublime “Silence of the lambs”. Hopkins seemed to be going through the motions and didn’t terrify me as much as he did in that first movie Watchable and a good movie, just not in my favourites.

    I’d strongly recommend the TV series though – I’d not expected to enjoy it, but it is absolutely fantastic. Hopkins is relegated to third best Hannibal – Mads Mikkelsen is perfect as him in the TV series, followed by Brian Cox in Manhunter.


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