by Rusty White
|Starring:||Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Giancarlo Giannini, Ray Liotta, Gary Oldman|
|Length:||2 hours 15 minutes|
Julianne Moore is perfect as an older more mature Clarice. Thomas Harris created such a strong, well-defined character in Clarice. Some may say that Ms. Moore plagiarizes Ms. Foster's performance at times, but that would not be telling the truth. Ms. Moore portrays Clarice with the dew off of the Lilly. Clarice has grown and matured. She is one tough cop. She is the second most pleasant surprise in this film.
The film opens with Clarice leading the combined forces of the FBI, DEA and Washington, DC police force on a raid on a crystal-meth lab. The lab is run by a woman. The team surrounds the lab, hidden in a busy fish market. The king pin emerges from her stronghold with her infant on her chest in a child carrier. Clarice calls off the raid. The DEA leader concurs, but a testosterone driven Washington PD officer starts shooting anyway. The resulting carnage is blamed on Clarice, despite the fact that 40 other officers witnessed the fact that someone else was responsible for the carnage. The "Waco" like TV coverage brings Clarice to the attention of both Lector and Verger. Lector uses the opportunity to drop Clarice a disturbing reminder that he is still free, while Verger begins plotting a way to use Clarice as bait for his revenge fantasy. Verger's plotting is far-fetched and nearly sinks the movie.
The real iceberg that sinks this movie is the repulsive violence. I am no prude. I enjoy action movies, slasher films, shoot em ups. It takes a lot to make me turn away, and I turned away several times during "Hannibal." Why is the violence repulsive? I think because of the technical flare with which it is portrayed. When blood gushes from open wounds, the Dolby speakers in the theater are awash with the splattering in surroundsound. The sound of a dog chewing on Verger's face, or another character's intestines splashing out in a wet heap on the ground were far from necessary. These and other scenes border on pornographic for the simple reason that they are performed by a character whom the audience roots for. I didn't read the book, so I don't know if the movie ends the same way. Even though the violence occupies relatively small amount of screen time, it is of such a disturbing nature that it is hard to shake the images. I once made the mistake of watching one of those "Faces of Death" movies with a friend. He said, "Watch this guy blow his brains out!" To my shame I watched it. To my regret I watched it because I cannot shake those images from my mind. That was real, this was Hollywood. I know the difference. This was as close as Hollywood has ever come to leaving me with unwanted nightmares. Those wet sounds still ring in my ears.