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Red Dragon (2002)



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Red Dragon was the first book about Hannibal Lecter that author Thomas Harris wrote. It was adapted first in 1986 as Manhunter, before Anthony Hopkins turned the character into an iconic figure in 1991's The Silence of the Lambs. The popularity of the sequel, Hannibal inspired this remake of the first story.

Though less surely directed as Michael Mann's Manhunter and no classic, Red Dragon is a taut thriller and unquestionably Brett Ratner's best film to date. It's also probably the most accessible of the Lecter films, being more of a dramatized entertainment than Manhunter, less grisly and twisted than The Silence of the Lambs and a lot less gruesome and gory than Hannibal. That said, I don't mean to suggest than Red Dragon isn't also grisly, twisted, and gruesome, because it is; it just doesn't dote on these elements as heavily. The film's tension and atmosphere are built upon intellectual gamesmanship and psychological terror, with highly satisfying results. Hopkins, of course, is fantastic, but Ralph Fiennes is just as memorable in his role, and Edward Norton, playing the FBI agent on the case, is riveting.

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