Hannibal (2001)

Rating: D

Dir: Ridley Scott
Star: Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, Ray Liotta

Another David Mamet script, albeit only a draft thereof, and with a radically-different ending to the book – which I think works slightly better, even if it topples over into something nearer Bloodsucking Freaks at the end, too horrific to be anything but ludicrous and laughable. The focus is firmly on Hopkins as Lecter, with Moore’s Sterling reduced to a secondary role. Indeed, there’s something almost heroic about him, not least because his nemesis, a crippled but extremely rich former victim (played, uncredited and almost unrecognisably, by Oldman) is far less pleasant and civilised.

There’s no question who you’d rather have for dinner – providing you kept Lecter out of the kitchen, that is – and this means the menace in Silence has all but evaporated, even if Lecter didn’t sign off with things like “Ta-ta!” Save the ending, there are almost no surprises if you’ve read the book, and Scott’s disconcerting tendency to switch into Blur-o-vision for the gory moments mean their impact is greatly diluted, though this was probably necessary in order to save the ‘R’-rating. Moore does a good-enough impression of Jodie Foster, while Liotta…well, let’s just say that any receding hairline will no longer be a problem. Ho-ho-ho.