“I’ve said this before, but the one downside to cranking out multiple reviews in a short period of time is that I tend to run out of steam. I swear I’m trying to keep these full and comprehensive.
I actually saw Red Dragon before Silence of the Lambs (again, chasing down Edward Norton movies). I used to say I liked Dragon better (blasphemy, I know), but in retrospect I think it was mostly because I saw it first. This was my intro to Hannibal Lecter. Also, as far as how the stories are written, Dragon came first. So seeing Lambs second really felt like a sequel. I dont wanna say it felt recycled, but there is definitely a sameness to the structure. Now that I can better appreciate Lambs, I’d consider it a tie, but I wont volunteer that information.
While most of the attention for this movie (and really this franchise) is on Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lector (which is incredibly deserved attention), this is actually a good showcase for Norton as well. He really does carry much of the movie, and he’s the anchor. He’s our hero that we’re sympathetic to, who is figuring out the story, who we’re cheering for. He’s so subdued and subtle, which is a perfect contrast to Hopkins’ iconic Lector. I know I’m reaching blasphemous territory again, but I’d take his Will Graham over Jodie Foster’s Clarice Starling. Maybe that’s just because it’s my boy Ed.
Also a truly standout performance from Ralph Fiennes. I’m pretty sure this is the first movie of his I ever saw. His bad guy is just as scary if not more so than Lector. But he’s also got a sweet and vulnerable side when he’s playing off of Emily Watson’s Reba. The difference is insane. I actually find myself feeling jealous of her being with him, and then I’m freaked the \m/ out a few scenes later. I actually find their relationship and the way it plays out far scarier than the serial killer thing. Crazy guy running around killing people, been there. But crazy guy starting a relationship with a girl, and having to fight off his inner demons who want him to sacrifice her, and she’s none the wiser? *shudder*
The list of fantastic supporting cast grows from there: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Harvey Keitel, Mary-Louise Parker. Such a shame that this movie is so often overlooked. Yeah, its in the shadow of one of the greatest movies of its genre, but that doesnt mean that they shouldnt be able to coexist”