Red Dragon was just kind of there. Excellent cast, decent enough acting, and the story is strong; alas, the movie didn’t do much for me. Most reviewers have mentioned that Manhunter was a better movie, and it was. But Red Dragon is not so much laboring under the weight of Manhunter as it is crushed under the weight of Silence of the Lambs. Here and there, entire sequences are lifted from Demme’s masterpiece. Brett Ratner did his best to recreate Silence, and he produced something fairly creepy and somewhat enjoyable, but in the process he lost track of what made Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon different than his Silence of the Lambs. Will Graham is not Clarice Starling, and the cracks in their psyches are of a very different nature. The cinematic Red Dragon forgets that Graham’s personal fear is his similarities to the monsters he hunts, and attempts to treat him as though he merely shared Clarice Starling’s fear of failure. But it’s not failure he fears at all. It’s too much success that gives him nightmares.
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