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Length:2h 11mins
Cast:Ridley Scott, Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Ray Liotta

Sir Anthony Hopkins returns for seconds as Hannibal Lecter, the celebrated psychopath he introduced to popular culture in Jonathan Demme's Oscar-winning Silence of the Lambs (1991). This third film culled from author Thomas Harris's series of books -- Lecter first appeared in Michael Mann's Manhunter (1986) -- finds Ridley Scott behind the camera, and the Gladiator director gives the horrific feast a European flair. Julianne Moore (Magnolia) takes over as FBI agent Clarice Starling, stepping into shoes made comfortable by Jodie Foster in Silence. Starling hasn't had it so well since we last saw her: A failed drug raid has resulted in her demotion, while Dr. Lecter has become a Renaissance man in Italy, surrounded by the finest of arts, fashion, and, er, food. But Lecter soon finds his fugitive vacation threatened by a triad of greed: Surviving Lecter victim Mason Verger (Gary Oldman, uncredited) wants revenge, Italian policeman Pazzi (Giancarlo Gianni) knows too much, and dirty FBI agent Paul Krendler (Ray Liotta) trades on Starling's access to Hannibal for his own political means. As Starling attempts to distill this less-than-gourmet stew, Hannibal once again functions as her confidant, his cat-and-mouse games from Silence dropped for an almost affectionate display as Starling's father figure. With a pulpy and grotesquely comical script cowritten by David Mamet and Steven Zaillian, Hannibal is much gorier than its predecessors; but thanks to Hopkins's mesmerizing way with the character, it still tastes good 'til the last bite. Patricia Kim O'Cone

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