Red Dragon (2002) Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Harvey Keitel, Emily Watson Movie Review

Red Dragon (2002)   4/54/54/54/54/5

Anthony Hopkins in Red Dragon (2002)

Chasing the Dragon

After forming a friendship with Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) as he assists FBI Agent Will Graham (Edward Norton) on a case it is Will who ends up arresting the doctor when he realises he is the man who has been murdering people and then consuming their organs as delicacies. But the physical and psychological trauma of bringing in Lecter leads to Will's retirement from the FBI to lead a quiet life with his wife and son. The trouble is that Will was the best at what he did and so when Jack Crawford (Harvey Keitel) asks Will to consult on a case of a new serial killer he ends up coming out of retirement and consulting with the now incarcerated Lecter once again. But it seems that the serial killer known as "The Tooth Fairy" is getting inside information from Lecter which puts Will and his family in danger.

I was not a fan of "Hannibal", the movie was too different to the first movie with a different style and tone which made it frankly ordinary whilst the change in cast didn't help matters either. But the good news is that "Red Dragon" is a huge improvement and manages to recapture much of what "The Silence of the Lambs" delivered as we have Lecter back in prison and being creepy in his arrogance as he appears to be assisting Will with a new case. It is what makes the movie and it allows Hopkins to shine by delivering that toying with people aspect with a real evil side.

Edward Norton in Red Dragon (2002)

It is not just that Hopkins once again shines as Lecter in "Red Dragon" the whole storyline with Will trying to solve a new serial killer case brings us what was so good about the first movie because it allows for different story levels. We have Will trying to solve the case, Lecter being creepy and controlling, we also have some focus on the new serial killer and his own creepy existence which is just as fascinating. It makes the movie entertaining on different levels yet never trying to be so complicated that you can't follow it.

But the crowning glory for me is the casting of Edward Norton as Will Graham as Norton is the master of the small detail which always makes his characters complete. For example in a scene where Graham works something out he stands there with his hands on his hips, not in a forced manner but in a casually satisfied sort of way yet as he sits down he rubs both eyes in the way a man does when he knows things are far from over. As such whilst Hopkins is on fine form it is the equally fine form of Edward Norton which brings the movie up to being almost as good as "The Silence of the Lambs".

What this all boils down to is that after the disappointment of "Hannibal" "Red Dragon" is a return to form and delivers the intelligence and excitement of the first movie but without it feeling repetitive.