Hannibal begins after Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Sir. Anthony Hopkins) escaped from the asylum in Baltimore to Florence, Italy where he has become the one of the curators of the Palazzo Vecchio and has learned to stop eating human flesh all the time. But his cover is broken when cop Rinaldo Pazzi (Giancarlo Giannini) will turn Dr. Lecter over, for money, to his old patient, Mason Verger (Gary Oldman). Mason is a person more twisted and evil than the doctor, because Dr. Lecter made him cut his own face off with a piece of glass and feed it to his dogs. It also caused him to be paralyzed and be on a respirator, which furthered his anger even more. But FBI agent Clarice Starling (Julianne Moore) finds out about Mason’s evil plot to feed Dr. Lecter to a bunch of man-eating hogs and will do anything to make sure that Mason doesn’t succeed.
What can I say about Hannibal? With tongue in cheek, I can say it is gut-wrenching, or it is a sliver of life. I have watched many a movie over the years, and I’m familiar with all tricks of the trade. Hannibal special effects people, however, got me this time. In one special “brain-teaser” scene near the end of the film, I actually felt light-headed – no pun intended. I had to turn away from the screen lest I pass out in the midst of my film critic peers, some of whom I caught turning their heads at the same time. Hannibal is a craftily assembled array of cannibalism, mixed with a generous portion of sadism. The hero in this film, played by Sir Anthony Hopkins is portrayed as a renaissance man with an insatiable appetite for anyone he deems unworthy. He once had a flute player for dinner because the musician’s substandard talent interfered with the symphony reaching its fullest potential. The hero’s redeeming trait is refraining from eating his pursuer – I suppose because she is the movie’s heroine. If this was the story of a real person, like Jeffery Dahmer, the heroic imagery would be lost in the tragic reality of a true story. My advice is don’t be sucked in to see Hannibal, unless you want to send a message encouraging Hollywood to make more movies like this one. We don’t need to patronize Hannibal to know what man is capable of at his lowest, most demented state.