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Ten years after the events of The Silence of the Lambs, FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling (Julianne Moore) has become a seasoned, workaholic Lecter junkie, openly admitting that she thinks about Hannibal the Cannibal (Anthony Hopkins) “at least 30 seconds of every day.” Wrongly blamed for a botched drug bust by her sleazy superior (Ray Liotta), Starling is put back on Lecter’s trail when his only living victim, the horribly disfigured billionaire Mason Verger (Gary Oldman) offers a $3 million bounty for his capture. Lecter is spotted in Florence, Italy, by Inspector Pazzi (Giancarlo Giannini), but Verger knows the only real way to grab him is to dangle Starling as bait.

Like it or loathe it, there’s no denying Hannibal provoked big reactions when released earlier this year. Critics (myself included) chewed it up after a ten-year wait since The Silence of the Lambs, and then came the furore over its MA rating in Australia, deservedly re-classified R later on. From the disfigured face of Mason Verger (an unbilled, unrecognisable Gary Oldman) to the instantly infamous brain-eating scene of Ray Liotta, it’s a gruesome, guttural, and deliberately shocking affair. Without Jonathan Demme, Scott Glenn or Jodie Foster back for seconds, Ridley Scott, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Clarice-clone Julianne Moore had their work cut out for them adapting Thomas Harris’s bloodthirsty book to mainstream cinema.

Ironically, the features on this jam-packed DVD make it a better viewing experience than the original release. The feature disc contains Scott’s commentary, and he reminds you the sequel is about two things; corruption and affection. Every character bar Hannibal and Clarice are corrupt, and as such, they share a beauty and the beast affair. The bonus disc is choc-full of extras, particularly the hour-long “Breaking the Silence” making-of
featurette, where interviews with cast and crew expose the choices made to achieve the desired effect; the deliberate contrasts of horror and elegance, baroque setting (Florence), and the classical piano score from Hans Zimmer.

Also on the bonus disc is a unique “Multi-Angle Vignettes” feature, where you can view the fish market shoot-out from four camera angles (or all four at once). There’s plenty of deleted scenes, picture stills, teasers, and frank confessions, like Hopkins’, who admits he baulked after reading the book, thinking “it was really overreaching and so bizarre.” That it is, but Hopkins is also lost without Foster, whose only contribution is her decree: “I stand to make more money doing that sequel than I’ve ever made in my life. But who cares, if it betrays Clarice—who is a person, in some strange way, to me.” It’s revealed that Angelina Jolie, Hilary Swank and even Cate Blanchett were considered until Moore got the nod, but she lacks the chemistry with Hopkins so essential to the story. A fine DVD of a disastrous movie, this delivers a greater understanding of the film and the choices made there-in. And isn’t that why DVDs exist?
Shannon J. Harvey

Published September 13, 2001

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You can buy it HERE - next day delivery within Australia

Read Jenny Cooney Carrillo's INTERVIEW with Anthony Hopkins

Andrew L. Urban canvasses the ISSUES

Read our MOVIE REVIEWS with audio


CAST: Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Ray Liotta, Gary Oldman, Giancarlo Giannini, Frankie Faison

DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott

SCRIPT: David Mamet, Steve Zaillian

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE DATE: August 2, 2001

SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio Commentary by Ridley Scott; 5 behind-the-scenes featurettes; Multi camera breakdown of ‘The Fish Market’ action scene using angle change function; Ridleygrams (storyboarding); Opening title design using angle change and optional director’s commentary; 15 deleted & extended scenes with optional director’s commentary; never-before-seen deleted scene—alternate ending with optional director’s commentary; photo gallery; theatrical trailer and TV spots

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