Directed by Ridley Scott.
Written by David Mamet and Steve Zaillian.
Starring Julianne Moore, Anthony Hopkins, Gary Oldman and Ray
Release Year: 2001
Review Date: 2/9/01
"Pain don't hurt!"
Have you heard this phrase before? Men
usually say it to other men when they are whining about how bad it
hurt to twist their knee on the basketball court, or get trampled by
two 300-pound men on the football field.
I was a big believer in that statement,
until I went to the movie theater today. In "Hannibal", so many
people die in pain that this pain will make you hurt in the
stomach. Literally. People get beaten, trampled, eaten, hacked,
gutted, and chopped to bits...you are almost thankful for the few
lucky souls in this film that just get shot in the chest! Did you
ever see "Reservoir Dogs"? Remember in the beginning of that film,
the scene where Tim Roth is bleeding to death in the back seat of
Harvey Keitel's car? You are just churning in your seat as you
watch Roth scream, and scream, and SCREAM as he is losing gallons of
blood from his gut.
If remembering this scene from "Reservoir
Dogs" hurts to think about, please skip "Hannibal" because I want to
honestly warn you that what I saw today disgusted even ME. And, as
many of you know, that is not easy to do. "Hannibal" is the third
adaptation of a Thomas Harris novel on Hannibal, after "Manhunter"
(don't worry, no one else saw this Michael Mann film either) and
"The Silence of the Lambs." This one opens with 10-year FBI veteran
Clarice Starling (Julianne Moore) helming a criminal bust that goes
bad--way bad--and as a result, she is given a leave of absence.
About the same time, her old criminal rival Hannibal (Anthony
Hopkins) surfaces in Italy posing as a doctor in Florence. He
surfaces only because of information gathered by Hannibal's only
surviving victim, a horribly disfigured man by the name of Mason
Verger (Gary Oldman, behind a lot of makeup), who clearly has
ulterior interests in discovering his former attacker's
whereabouts. The remainder of the film finds Starling trying to
figure out Hannibal's next move...and of course, his next victim.
Let's be honest, you are going to see this
movie whether I liked it or not, right? So, let me be frank: good
or bad, this movie is some sick, twisted shit. The film's story is
useless, so don't concentrate on it while you are watching the
movie. It is hard to describe this movie as "violent", when in
fact, I think it is just bloody...but, very violent at very sporadic
moments. Hopkins is flat-out creepy, and he is just as good as he
was in "The Silence of the Lambs", and this is good because, as the
title suggests, this movie is mostly about Hannibal, not Moore's
Starling. Speaking of which, Moore is very good, but because she is
given much less to do in this film, it is hard to compare her
performance to Jodie Foster's performance in "Lambs." (Speaking of
which, has anyone seen Foster lately? Girl hasn't been in a good
film in years!!)
So, since many of you have already skipped
down to my rating, why did I not love this so much? Well, simply,
half of this film is set in Italy with an entirely different
storyline than the one used in the first half-hour and the last
half-hour. An Italian cop discovers Hannibal's true identity and
then follows him all over town...but, doesn't arrest him because he
is trying to collect a multimillion-dollar reward for his capture.
This struck me as ridiculous, but worse, it takes too much time away
from Moore and Hopkins' screen time. Why did the screenwriters do
this? I didn't come to see some hotshot Italian actor smoke
cigarettes for an hour, I came to see Anthony Hopkins eat people!
This is a sequel! People come to sequels not to see something
"fresh" or "original", but something that they liked so much about
the first movie! Did you see "Die Hard 2"? It wasn't about John
Mclaine's time at home with the kids! It was about lots of
killing!! That is why it made so much money.
Of course, even when the story re-focuses on
the reason why I went to see this film, there is such a useless
story that it might not have made a difference.
I do know this: there is a moment at the
end of this movie that is so...nasty that it made almost everyone in
my theater today turn their heads in disgust. Please note that the
ending of this movie is different than the one in the book. If you
read the book, please shoot me a line and tell me how the book ends;
I would love to know why the producers thought they needed to change
it. Oh, and there is one more thing that I know: whether you like
it or not, you WILL walk out of this theater and say the same three
words that I did:
"What the fuck?"
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard