3;: 'lt's Lecter's certainty, his calmness that we envy.

Lecter‘is an archetype, he is a mythical figure.’

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Hannibal (18)i31 mins s. *1:

In the ten years since Thomas Harris' serial killer chiller The Silence Of The Lambs was filmed, its most memorable character, Hannibal Lecter, has become a modern myth. Unsurprisingly, Harris’ follow-up novel, adapted for the screen by David Mamet and Steve Zaillian (Schindler's List) and directed by Ridley Scott, places Lecter centre stage. It also makes the predator the prey, though the refined Lecter continues to dispatch opponents with imagination, gallows humour and a sense of aptness; he only eats the ’crude'.

Now 'retired' in Florence, Lecter (Anthony Hopkins reprising his Oscar-winning role) is the subject of a manhunt by the millionaire Mason Verger (a superb, uncredited and

Julmnm- Moore is matched

unrecognisable Gary Oldman), his only surviving but hideously disfigured victim. Meanwhile, Starling (Julianne Moore replacing Jodie Foster) is wiser and more confident, though her career in the FBI continues to be hampered by male prejudice.

Technically, Hannibal is flawless, with robust photography by Scott's Gladiator cinematographer John Mathieson and a strong sense of pacing as the action alternates between Italy and America. Hopkins gleefully reprises his role, chilling one moment, almost parodic the next, while Moore brings a steely hardness to Starling suggesting her maturity. And though the pair are rarely on screen together, there's chemistry in the developing beauty- and-the-beast romance.

Inevitably, there are omissions from the novel, most notably Lecter's family background which explains his modus operandi, two prominent female characters and the extraordinary ending, which has been made more palatable for cinema audiences. Still, Hannibal remains a hearty slice of modern Gothic though it’s more of a conventional thriller than an offbeat chiller. The ending clearly signals another sequel, which leaves the curious impression of just having watched an episode of The X-Files, albeit a very good one.

(Miles Fielder)

15 Feb—1 Mar 2001 THE [IN 21