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Red Dragon /

Rated: R

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Harvey Keitel 

Directed by: Brett Ratner 

Produced by: Ridley Scott, Dino de Laurentiis, Martha De Laurentiis 

Written by: Ted Tally 

Distributor: Universal Pictures


Movie Image
Movie Image
Movie Image

     I knew that when I walked into Red Dragon I was taking I chance. It could’ve gone one of two ways. The first way, is that it would be as poorly put together as the second installment of the “Cannibal” series, Hannibal; and two, out score the first, the ever popular Silence of the Lambs. It manages to fall somewhere between the two, but gets a very solid recommendation from me, but let me point out, if it were to beat the first film, one of my favorites of all time, that would be saying a whole lot for it. With great performances, excellent style, and an unexplainably profound edge; the flick definitely keeps the long-time trilogy alive. The chances of having a fourth movie made are null, because the filmmakers don’t have anymore of the original authors novels to put to life. If Red Dragon does well at the box office, though, the inventive screenwriters will most definitely come up with something sooner or later.

     The plot is similar to The Silence of the Lambs, but has some differences that allow it to build its own story in a different way. Like before, the imprisoned Hannibal Lecter must help FBI agents in catching another criminal, due to his wonderful way of thinking in the eyes of murderers; after all he is one himself. This time the killer is played by Ralph Fiennes, who is a human turning into a “dragon”, an evil spirit expressed through 18th century artwork. He murders entire families on the nights of scheduled full moons, but makes certain that he leaves no evidence of his true identity, a man named Francis Dolarhyde, by carefully studying the family’s houses through video tapes and floor plans. Like Lecter, he is slightly cannibalistic, but is much more insane, and has a more spiritually built premise. Unlike most movies these days, there are no noticeable plot holes, but there are a few deadbeat, and improbable moments. Though gory and disturbing, like all of the others, I liked the story because of the tasteful scares it delivers.

     Ralph Fiennes character, “The Dragon”, was terrifyingly insane, but like all of the other characters in all three of the movies, he has a strangely well-built personality. At one point in the film, he debates killing a lover, because the spiritual world’s “dragon” suggests it to him psychologically, due to her violation of his privacy. I will not tell you what his final decision is on the topic, whether he kills her or not, because you must see the film unravel for yourself, but I must tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed the emotional battle his character went through, it was an expression of great acting at its best. This proved that his versatility should be exercised by filmmakers everywhere; it was almost fun to watch just because it was so ironic to see him in such a role. Nazi from Schindler's List turned psycho from Red Dragon, interesting.

   “Dragon” is just great. The material isn’t pleasant to watch, but the intelligent comeback it makes from the blood-and-guts Hannibal is comforting to see. I cannot complement on a comment that James Baradinelli presented in his review of the movie, which was that it was too similar to the less-popular Manhunter, a low budget flick made before Anthony Hopkins started working with the series; I have not seen Manhunter, so I wouldn’t know. Ralph Fiennes is a natural born star, and this film proves that he is able to be as versatile as anyone else, in order to fit any role presented to him. Brett Ratner is a more mainstream director, he has also done both of the Rush Hour movies, and his way of more lightly bringing the gruesome material benefited the trilogy. I will say that the movie is definitely not for everyone though; and those people you know who you are (anyone who is bothered by gore and people eating other people will hate it). But in my eyes, Red Dragon is a solid flick that I highly recommend; it deserves a 3 ½ out of 4 bucket rating.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews


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