ADAPTATION APRIL: Red Dragon (2002)

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Adapted from: Thomas Harris’ novel of the same name.

Basically, this film is a prequel/setup to the film Silence of the Lambs, telling the story of Will Graham, the FBI consultant who actually caught Lecter, and his most dangerous case, the hunt for the “Tooth Fairy” serial killer, a demented man with a William Blake obsession that goes far beyond the average fan…

What Worked:

This film is filled with a lot of fantastic performances, particularly those of Ralph Fiennes and Sir Anthony Hopkins as the film’s major and secondary villains, respectively. Another great acting performance was the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Freddie Lounds, a paparazzo who causes a lot of trouble for Edward Norton’s Will Graham and his hunt for the Tooth Fairy.

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Francis, the avid YuGiOh fan, is going to be very disappointed in the lack of Blue Eyes White Dragons on his tat…

Aside from the cast, the film also features some really solid writing. Many of the characters, especially Graham and Dolarhyde are very solidly developed, and often have a firm grasp on real humanity, something that is very rare for films so focused on crime and serial killers.  If you’re a fan of forensics in film and real life, you can see a lot of care and research was taken to make the film more realistic than the average film in the genre. The cinematography doesn’t have many extraordinary shots, but is still very good.

What Didn’t: 

For being so well researched and written, the film does have a select few flaws. The biggest one in particular is the clarity in who the audience is supposed to root for. Though the film presents Will Graham as the clever agent who finally got Lecter locked up, his importance seemingly dwindles the further the film goes along, instead focusing on the few remaining positive aspects of the Tooth Fairy. Though the film makes it clear the character is insane and dealing with his traumatic childhood, the writing and setup by the direction and editing try again and again to make him sympathetic, leading to a rather disconcerting viewing experience.

Final Score:

Great

 

Though the film has a couple of hiccups, especially in the final two acts, it’s still a very good experience for fans of the crime and thriller genres, particularly for people with interests in forensics and such. Though I enjoy watching this film for the performances, in fact, more so than the other Hannibal films, I certainly can’t say it’s better than Silence of the Lambs. Still, I’d recommend checking it out.

7.75 creepy photographers out of 10.

 

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