dir: Ridley Scott
I'm here to tell you that there is a new contender for shittest film of the new year all ready, if not the decade. Hannibal is simply the dumbest film I've seen since primary school. The horror flick Fright Night on Channel 10 last night had a more coherent, intelligent plot. Hell, I've seen pornos that had better character development, plot machinations and more credibility than this load of old cobblers.
Many people don't actually know this, but Hannibal is a special effects heavy film, like Ridley Scott's last film, Gladiator. Except in this film, instead of using CGI for images of the Colosseum, Rome at the peak of its glory, or nasty tigers on chains, the CGI is used to depict Anthony Hopkins, because that can't be the same actor I've seem in other great performances for the longest time. He looked and acted as fake as the mechanical shark in the Jaws films.
I can't comment on the source material, seeing as I couldn't give a fuck about the book and have no intention of ever reading it, but why they bothered making such a stupid, boring, utterly devoid of interest or tension film is a mystery of staggering proportions. I know that the film has made $60 million dollars in one week of release, but it would have done that if they'd based it on a copy of "See Spot Run!" or a Sesame Street Golden Book. I cannot fathom why they bothered writing such an inept, mishandled screenplay giving a bunch of actors nothing to do but look foolish. Hacks, they're all fucking hacks.
The only scene of any interest or carried off with any level of competence is the first time we see Julianne Moore as Clarisse Starling, as she attempts to capture a female African-American criminal. It's the only coherent, engaging, genuinely tense part of the film. From there it just meanders from one messy, motiveless scene to another; it's like watching a really drunk person stagger down a long street throwing up on their boots every ten steps or so. Trust me, I know of what I speak from bitter personal experience.
The rest of the film involves allegedly genius people doing increasingly stupid things, with inertia getting the inane plot towards an idiotic conclusion. None of the acting makes any sense or has a single shred of credibility, no one comes out of this looking good. I've seen amateur theatre in Camberwell that had better scripting and better acting than this.
The CGI Anthony Hopkins plays Hannibal "the Snuggable" Lecter, who, whilst perpetually wearing his hat at a jaunty angle, has made Florence his new home since lots of people back in the States somehow don't appreciate his genius or culinary habits and want to kill him or put him in jail or on the next Survivor series. He swans about for most of the film in a Florence populated by Italian people who don't actually speak a word of Italian, and chose to speak English in garbled accents with cheesy sentence choices even when there aren't Americans around.
You may think this is irrelevant, but consider the fact that he plays an academic art historian who lectures to entire theatres full of Italian academics about depictions of Judas in early art works and Dante's Burning Ringpiece and the new series of Poptarts!, in English with a few latin words thrown in, and it just looks wrongheaded, all the way. It smacks of trying to show the audience "Since this character is supposed to be supra-intelligent and an intalekshual, we'll just have him spouting bollocks about Dante and art and going to the Opera to convince the audience, they're stupid fuckers anyway, what do they know." And it doesn't work, let me tell you. It smacks of conceited laziness, and the whole film from that point on made me angry.
Gone is the Hannibal Lecter of Silence of the Lambs, a masterfully written and superbly acted character. There was a character whose high powered intellect, keen perception, expertise in human behaviour and weakness, complete sociopathy and propensity for lethal, cannibalistic violence made him frightening, repellent and incredibly interesting all at the same time. Polite, considerate, without remorse, many audiences adored him whilst the others resented the fact that such a despicable creature could become a virtual hero and pop culture icon.
They, being the shiteating studio executives and everyone else involved with the film, have replaced him with a doddering old simulacra that prances about Florence shoving hankies covered in chloroform in people's faces. The vast majority of his lines are either devoid of inflection or interest, or are cheesy puns regarding eating people. No menace, no intelligence, no suspense. He does lots of stupid things for no discernible reason. At one point he'll go to any lengths to prevent leaving any fingerprints or traces of his identity (in a piazza cafe he sips from a wine glass held with a cloth, he'll wipe his lip print to prevent leaving any saliva or cells). In the scenes directly preceding it and following it, he doesn't give a fuck where he puts his hands, just like that homeless bastard that felt me up on the tram last week. Why won't he call?
So maybe he wants to get caught, then he doesn't want to get caught, blah blah blah, it is nonsensical. Apart from having the FBI on his tail, there is also a substantial reward offered by a vengeful rich bastard with no face that Hannibal was naughty to many years ago. Gary Oldman, reprising his Sid Vicious role is very ugly, and he plays a wheelchair bound pedophile with no face who wants to feed Lecter to some pigs. Wake up in the back, over there, or I'll throw some chalk at you.
The plot staggers from the stupid to the ridiculous. The plot devices that get the actors from place to place are utterly inane, until the pinnacle of idiocy is reached with the dual endings, which are dumb, dumb, dumb.
Julianne Moore is a beautiful redhead. I love her. I think she's a very good actor. In this film she drains her character of any believable motivation for her actions and of everything that made the Agent Starling character great: intelligence, strength of character, self-doubt, vulnerability, a white knight / defender of the innocent complex,humour, emotional engagement. She has only two acting modes in this film: whining and blank. She spends most of the film in a basement listening to tapes of herself and Lecter talking supposedly from their first encounters back at the asylum. What a fucking waste.
Everyone in this film is stupid, everyone does stupid, unbelievable things. If I want to watch that, I'll watch "reality" tv shows like Treasure Island or A Current Affair. The gore factor is surprisingly high, but doesn't give me a tingle in my ovaries, and it's just lame. The very end with a certain character on a plane sharing a meal typifies everything that's wrong with the world in general and this film in particular: the path of least intelligence is always the one most traveled.
2 out of 10, and that's only for Julianne Moore.
"Put the lampshade on
We are stupid together" - Peanut Butter, Fluf