Red Dragon (2002)
Director: Brett Ratner
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Harvey Keitel and Ralph Fiennes
Synopsis: In his Baltimore townhouse, famous local psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) hosts a dinner party. The main subject of conversation over dinner is the disappearance of a local musician who was criticized for playing several wrong notes at a concert that Lecter attended. After dinner, Lecter is visited by Will Graham (Edward Norton), a young gifted FBI agent, with whom he has been working on a psychological profile of a local serial killer. Edible body parts of the victims, such as the kidneys and liver were removed from the bodies after being killed, and Graham is convinced that the killer is actually a cannibal. During the consultation and brainstorming session, Graham discovers evidence implicating Dr. Lecter in the murders, shortly before Lecter returns and attacks Graham, wounding and nearly killing him before Graham resists and subdues him. Lecter is subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment in an institution for the criminally insane while Graham, severely traumatized by the experience, retires from the FBI. Years later, another serial killer appears. The killer is nicknamed the Tooth Fairy, because of his unique bite pattern. He stalks and murders seemingly random families during sequential full moons. Hoping to speed things up and capture the killer before his next attack, Special Agent Jack Crawford (Harvey Keitel) seeks out Graham and pleads for his assistance. Graham, believing the death of another family to be an unbearable burden on his conscience, reluctantly agrees. After checking over the crime scenes, with only minimal insight, he comes to the realization that most of his previous successes were achieved due to the insightful collaborations of Dr. Lecter, and concludes that he must once again visit Lecter and seek his help in capturing the Tooth Fairy. The Tooth Fairy turns out to be Francis Dolarhyde (Ralph Fiennes) a delusional video editor who worked on both families videos. Graham must now set a trap to stop Dollarhyde from killing another family.
Trivia: In William Blake’s “Great Red Dragon” series of paintings, there are two with very similar names. The novel “Red Dragon,” by Thomas Harris, uses the title of one painting (“The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun”), but in describing the image, gives a description of another (“The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in the Sun”). Due to the muddled reference, the first adaptation of the the novel, “Manhunter” (dir: Michael Mann), Francis Dolarhyde is obsessed with the painting that Harris cites by name, while this film features the painting as described by Harris, which is a back view of the dragon with his tail wrapped around the woman. Ralph Fiennes’ back tattoo took eight hours to apply.
How scary is this really?: I love Red Dragon it is such a great film with an amazing cast. Anthony Hopkins is amazing as Lecter and he does very well back in his comfort zone locked away. Edward Norton is also great is this but the film belongs to Ralph Fiennes who is incredible as Dolarhyde. Brett Ratner delivers his best directorial effort to date as he he channels Jonathan Demme very well. An amazing film and a perfect Halloween film and the perfect companion to The Silence of the Lambs.