Red Dragon (2002)

R   |    |  Crime, Drama, Thriller


Red Dragon (2002) Poster

A retired FBI agent with psychological gifts is assigned to help track down "The Tooth Fairy", a mysterious serial killer. Aiding him is imprisoned forensic psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter.


7.2/10
252,332


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  • Harvey Keitel in Red Dragon (2002)
  • Rebecca Gayheart at an event for Red Dragon (2002)
  • Anthony Hopkins and Edward Norton in Red Dragon (2002)
  • Director Brett Ratner
  • Rebecca Gayheart and Brett Ratner at an event for Red Dragon (2002)
  • Director Brett Ratner and Producer Dino De Laurentiis

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8 August 2010 | hitchcockthelegend
7
| I am not a man. I began as one, but now I am becoming more than a man, as you will witness.
Red Dragon is based on the novel of the same name written by Thomas Harris and is directed by Brett Ratner and written by Ted Tally. It stars Edward Norton, Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson, Harvey Keitel, Mary-Louise Parker & Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Dante Spinotti is on cinematography and Danny Elfman scores the music.

Red Dragon is a prequel to the hugely successful Silence of the Lambs. The story had already been filmed as Manhunter in 1986 directed by Michael Mann. The signs weren't particularly good for Red Dragon. The previous year had seen Ridley Scott tackle Silence Of The Lambs follow up, Hannibal, with tepid results. While at the helm here was the director of such fodder as Rush Hour 1&2, and of course Mann's take on the story is viewed as a grainy and skin itching cult classic. Nice to report then that even tho it's hardly in the same class as "Lambs," it's a willing entertainer that genuinely manages to unease.

Firstly one has to get past the Hannibal Lecter factor to fully enjoy (and dampen expectations) the movie on its own terms. Lecter (Hopkins enjoying himself but going thru the motions) is a secondary character. Important? Yes! But still secondary to Norton's troubled but gifted FBI agent Will Graham and Fiennes bonkers serial killer Francis Dolarhyde (AKA:The Tooth Fairy). Red Dragon is first and foremost a ripping good old detective story, with Ratner and Tally wisely using the bits that made Harris' novel such a page turning success. They have added their own bits of course {the pre-credit sequence involving Lecter & Graham sets things up perfectly}, but ultimately it's a loyal enough telling of a gripping and goose flesh inducing story.

The makers have wisely filled the film out with quality performers. Norton underplays Graham nicely, a character unable to stay away from the job that threatens his family, he becomes an easy guy to root for as things start to get troubling. Fiennes too doesn't go over the top, in great physical shape and with piercing blue eyes, he exudes menace without resorting to being a cackling caricature. Hoffman was a shoe in for a weasel reporter since he does it so well, while Keitel, tho not having to stretch himself, offers up a stoic turn as Jack Crawford. But the main performance, and sadly unheralded, comes from Emily Watson as the blind Reba. With Reba acting as both a romantic and redemptive foil to Dolarhyde's split-personality, Watson gets the tough gig, and comes up trumps with an affecting turn featuring the right amounts of spunk, sadness and needy tenderness.

It's a bit too polished to be a nerve shredder, with Ratner unable to give the film an atmospheric feel befitting the darkness at its core. But it does deliver on the promise of not only that opening segment, but also on Harris' fine procedural narrative. 7/10

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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Lecter is given the phone, he punches the button in the cradle in a sequence, dialing area code 312, which would be for a number in downtown Chicago. This trick worked on pre-digital phones. It replicates what happens when a telephone dial is turned. When you put your finger in the hole for a specific digit, pull it round to the stop, then release it, the spring turns the dial back, creating one click for each digit as it passes. As the number 0 is the last in the sequence, it clicks ten times. Upon the arrival of touch-tone phones, wiz kids such as a young Steve Wozniac, who founded Apple, could build boxes to generate the tones, making phone calls for free. The phone company later changed this to prevent such things.


Quotes

Hannibal Lecter: Think to yourself that every day is your last. The hour to which you do not look forward will come as a welcome surprise. As for me, when you want a good laugh, you will find me in fine state, fat and sleek, a true hog of Epicurus's herd.


Goofs

(at around 1h 40 mins) After Graham finds out the video tapes are what links the victims the aircraft flying at dusk is the outline of a Falcon 2000. The film takes place sometime in the early '80s and the Falcon 2000 was not delivered until March of 1995.


Crazy Credits

Thanks to the men and women of the Federal Bureau of Investigation


Soundtracks

Oriental Blues
Written by
Jack Newlon (as Richard Newlon)
Performed by Tony DeSimone
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Details

Release Date:

4 October 2002

Language

English, French


Country of Origin

Germany, USA

Filming Locations

Mount Vernon, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Box Office

Budget:

$78,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$36,540,945 6 October 2002

Gross USA:

$93,149,898

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$209,196,298

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