Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hannibal (2001)

I have a random story about this movie.  When it first came out, I went to go see it in the theater with a friend (I would have been about 18 at the time).  In the front row, a guy threw up during the brain-eating scene, causing quite the commotion in the theater.  I was a grizzled horror veteran by that point, and it would have taken more than a little cerebral munching to turn my stomach.

Hannibal, of course, is the sequel to Silence of the Lambs.  For some reason, Jodie Foster declined to return to this movie, so they had to find someone else.  Julianne Moore it was!  I love her, especially in Boogie Nights and despite her terribly ugly cry-face.  Luckily she only exhibits it like once in this movie.  In this sequel, Hannibal Lecter has escaped from jail after a fumbled prison transfer, and he has relocated to Italy, where he is posing nicely as museum curator Dr. Fell.  Meanwhile, back in the states, Agent Starling is involved in a drug raid gone horribly wrong and is about to get kicked off the force, until a wonderful opportunity arises.  Mason Verger (Gary Oldman) the only living Lecter victim, claims to have more information about him.  Basically he's just using his massive wealth to purchase Lecter-related items, specifically from his old caretaker, Barney.

Starling agrees to meet with Verger, who is all too excited to share the details of his child molestation victim, and subsequent acid trip with Dr. Lecter, which resulted in him peeling off his face and ending up looking like a freakshow.  As he pretends to help the FBI, he has a grand plan in mind, where he will kill Lecter in a manner he has chosen.  With Clarice back on the case, Verger is also collaborating with an Italian detective, who has discovered Dr. Fell's ruse.

Meanwhile, everyone's largest mistake is thinking that any of this is going over Hannibal's head.  Of course it's not, and he knows what's up.  However, he wishes to reunite with Clarice (through a cat and mouse game of sorts), who he seems to have more of a sexual desire for than in Silence of the Lambs.  Oh, also, Ray Liotta is involved.  How could I forget about him?  He's kind of blah blah blah I'm bringing you down Starling through most of the movie, but shines as he eats his own brain.  Awesomesauce. 

I've always loved the scene when they're handcuffed together in the kitchen.  There's just something so perfectly written and acted about that part, and over multiple viewings it still gets me.  "Would you ever say, 'if you loved me, you'd stop'?"  Chills.  Obviously nothing can beat the perfection of Silence of the Lambs, but Hannibal is a close runner-up.  Now available on Netflix instant if you're interested.