Sunday, December 8th, 2002
Yeah, you’ll note the titles says Red Dragon and not Adaptation as I’d promised… that’s because no one wanted to see Adaptation this week but everyone wanted to see it next week. What’s a guy to do? Thankfully my plans of wasting the afternoon in a dark room surrounded by strangers wasn’t totally torpedoed as The Bloor was running an afternoon matinee of Red Dragon, which I hadn’t seen. But I have now. ‘Cause I went. In case you missed that. Anyway.
Saw and enjoyed Silence Of The Lambs, haven’t seen Hannibal as it looked terrible. Heard better things about Red Dragon. Haven’t seen Manhunter, so there won’t be any ‘it was okay but Michael Mann did it soooo much better the first time’ jive. As a sidebar, I was curious to see how dirctor Brett Ratner did with some non-lightweight source material since he’s the fellow attached to the new Superman movie. But if you look at his IMDB entry, you’ll note a 2002 item for Hong Kong Phooey Um, right.
So Red Dragon – a reasonable film but I think it was flawed from the initial concept. It’s marketed as a new Hannibal Lector film – unfortunately, he’s actually only a peripheral character. His parts are ratcheted up for the film but that creates a subplot with him and agent Will Graham that can’t be satisfactorily resolved because it doesn’t really exist in the first place, save the first five minutes of the film. The real plot of the film lies with Ralph Fiennes’ ‘Tooth Fairy’, and that thread gets only the standard Hollywood serial killer treatment. The motivations of the titular character are only presented in broad strokes, and I was left unsatisfied at the end result. Fiennes does as much as he can with the part, but isn’t given all that much to work with. The impression I get is not that the film wants me to figure it out on my own, but that it doesn’t especially care since the Tooth Fairy isn’t the main attraction.
Sir Anthony Hopkins has the Lector character down to a tee by now – and I can’t help wondering if that sinister grin is so automatic now that Hopkins isn’t even thinking about it? Edward Norton is excellent as always as FBI agent Will Graham, and I have to say – for a relatively small guy, he’s awful resiliant. Graham takes an extraordinary amount of punishment but always comes up, well, alive. And I always like Mary-Louise Parker. Absolutely didn’t recognize Harvey Keitel.
Ratner did a servicable job with the film, but he’s not in the same league as the previous directors of the Lector films. I’m less concerned with him being behind the camera for Superman than I am about the script that’s purportedly being used. But that’s a rant for another day.
np – Fountains Of Wayne / Utopia Parkway