Ten years after Silence of the Lambs, The (1991) , Anthony Hopkins returns to the cinema as Dr Hannibal Lecter, freshly roused from his comfortable exile and keen to catch up with old friend and nemesis Clarice Starling.
Cinema-goers who have previously read Thomas Harris ' book of the same name will quickly notice that Hannibal is not an identical telling of Lecter's continued mealtime miscreance. The movie is instead a well-prepared buffet, comprising of the original story's most horrific and darkly comic courses served up in film-friendly - though sometimes only vaguely familiar-pieces, and so has much the same relationship with its roots as Manhunter (1986) - the film of Silence's prequel Red Dragon. Having said this, the realisation of some scenes, including the opening waterfront bust and somewhat-pantomime last meal, have been realised excellently under the direction of British helmer Ridley Scott .
Replacing Jodie Foster in the lead role, Julianne Moore does an admirable job of depicting a more weathered Starling - worn down by the office politics that have stunted her career - and so goes some way in stepping from the shadow of her hugely successful predecessor. Gary Oldman too impresses as Mason Verger, a grossly disfigured past victim of Lecter, who employs his own sizeable wealth in corrupting others to aid his quest for excruciating revenge. Add to this Ray Liotta 's turn as the lecherous Paul Krendler and Starling's fight to rescue her greatest enemy is far from easy, though never less than thrilling entertainment.
Despite its lack of adherence to the original story, Hannibal will surely surpass its character omissions and glaring plot changes to take its place as a worthy edition to the Lecter legend.