Yes, I too went to see Red Dragon on premier night.
Take a journey back to the beginning. Before there was Clarice Starling, before Hannibal was messing with a rookie, he was still brilliantly psychotic. Hannibal Lechter is having a dinner party….
Guest: “Dr. Lechter, what IS the soufle made of?”
Hannibal: “If I told you that, my dear, you wouldn’t even try it…”
The movie gets better and better from there. If you enjoyed the caged-up Hannibal from The Silence Of The Lambs who simply sits behind the wierd glass enclosure and screws with the mind of the main character, you will LOVE this one. Lechter is at his most brilliant and psychotic while messing with his capturer, Will Graham (Ed Norton). Graham retired after being nearly killed while apprehending Dr. Lechter. Now he’s been asked to help catch the killer known as “the tooth fairy.” Graham reluctantly consults his old nemisis and things get freaky. The true main character of this film is Ralph Fiennes portraying Francis Dollarhyde, A.K.A. The Tooth Fairy. He is a psychopathic stalker who kills whole families in his quest to become super-human. That’s it, in a nutshell.
The acting is superb and the adaptation of the novel is damn good, for a 2 hour movie. Obviously, with that limitation, parts need to be left out. I liked this movie quite a bit, but it left me wanting. I was much less a fan of the caged-up type Hannibal from most of Silence.. than I was of the free-roaming coldly calculating killer of Hannibal. I wanted to see more of Dr. Lechter on the loose doing what he does best. However, this movie wasn’t really about Hannibal the Cannibal. This was about getting “the tooth fairy” and it works very well at developing that story. Fiennes was awesome as the deranged lunatic and Emily Watson’s Reba McClaine, the blind film developer was a necessary catalyst to Fiennes’ lunacy. Harvey Keitel also plays a significant supporting role. The acting is great, the scripting is good and the movie turns out very well.
I loved this movie in it’s context. I was just extremely glad I read a review or three before going, since I originally thought this was to be a sequel to my favorite of the series, Hannibal. It worked just fine for what it was, which is a murder mystery loaded with suspense and containing Hannibal as a side note. I would recommend this to anyone who asks.