A first look into the mind of a serial killer…
Different high caliber directors took a stab at Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter novels. Red Dragon is the second adaptation of the first book by the same name. 1986’s Manhunter was a decent first attempt but it didn't benefit from Anthony Hopkins’ presence and felt cheap. Like Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal, Red Dragon brings back the grade A actor that made the series a success.
Silence of the Lambs is vaguely used as a template, here, putting drama at the forefront and gore far behind. The antagonist is infinitely more fleshed out than Buffalo Bill was. Ralph Fiennes doesn't exactly inspire fear and strength, but he can sure play crazy. Lecter is faithful to the man we've now come to enjoy as a horror icon and is still an unlikely reversal on superheroes tropes.
We spend a lot of time with the bad guys and not so much with the bleak Edward Norton, who never fully convinces us he can think like a murderer. This isn't the best entry so far, but it’s a strong one that truly digs into the mind of a schizophrenic time-bomb. Despite an odd pacing and counter-intuitive storytelling, we get yet another dark, minimalist but satisfying thriller.