Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Which is Better? The Red Dragon

Whereas Silence of the Lambs was a masterpiece and a movie that was so unexpected that it won a few Oscars, the movie Red Dragon unfortunately, a prequel shot 10 or so years after Silence of the Lambs, falls flat. Now, I am unsure if my opinion on the movie Red Dragon is the result of over saturation of all things Hannibal Lector or if I really was just underwhelmed with the movie in general, but I digress.

There are a few major problems with the movie.The first problem was the casting of Will Graham. In the book, Harris takes you through the downfall into madness of Graham and his relationship with Hannibal Lector. Lector isn't very involved in the book, but Graham, in looking at Francis, starts to lose his sense of self. In order to catch a serial killer, he has to think like one, and in the book, it just tears him apart. In the movie, Norton is just walking around like he owns the place and that he is not phased by what he has to do.  In the movie, Edwards Norton is a badass. He isn't overpowered by Francis at the end and he sort of regains his life after Francis is shot by Molly. His relationship with his wife and stepson falls apart in the book and alludes to a divorce.

The second major problem with the movie is that the book, is set before Silence of the Lambs, but the movie is made over 10 years later. Anthony Hopkins is noticeably older and my husband pointed out that Hopkins wore a girdle to keep himself trim. They recasted Crawford... and I get why they brought Hopkins back, but I think it would have been well served if they got a younger Hopkins look alike to play his younger self. In the movie, after watching Silence of the Lambs, he just looks ridiculous.

I really liked the backstory of Freddy Louds in the book. I was able to see his inner workings and how he was shafted for most of his life and just decided to take control of it. He was really valued at The Tattler, but everyone hated him in the journalists world. Throughout the book, he was a guy that knew that no one would look out for him but him, and he did what it took to be successful. All he wanted was to be a serious journalist with lots of money and it was very sad when The Dragon took him. In the movie, I didn't really didn't feel any sort of way for him. He was played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who does sarmy very well. There was never any sort of backstory to him other than skeevy gossip journalist.

In the movie, they alluded to his backstory and showed the time with his grandmother when he wet the bed when he was a child. What is lost in the movie is the time frame. This whole serial killer case was done in the 1970s, which makes Francis' low self-esteem and self loathing due to his cleft palate much more probable if the audience knew that he grew up in the 40s and 50s.

Reba's interpretation in the movie is mostly spot on. She's white with golden pageboy hair and she's blind. I liked her inner monologue in the book, but in the movie, you lose that. You feel for her because she genuinely likes Francis and he can't get past his own abuse (or really, into therapy) to be available for her. He is so far gone by the time he meets Reba. It's sad because The Dragon helps him be more confident and strong but also drives him to kill people and encourage him to kill Reba.

All in all, Red Dragon is better as a book than a movie. You get more material and the motives of characters which is lacking in the movie. It would have been better served to recast Lector just for the simple fact that Hopkins is noticeably older in a movie that was supposed to take place before Silence of the Lambs. The movie is entertaining, however, so if you want to just settle for watching something thrilling, then it's a good way to spend a few hours.

No comments:

Post a Comment