One of the most compelling screen villains in ages returns to the big screen in “Hannibal”, the film adaptation of the controversial sequel to “The Silence Of the Lambs” by Thomas Harris.
When we last left Dr. Hannibal the Cannibal Lecter (Sir Anthony Hopkins), he had escaped from confinement in a bloody rampage and was in hiding. The new film picks up the story ten years later, where Lecter is still on the loose, and Clarice Starling, (Julian Moore), who was an agent in training in the first film, has fallen on hard times. It seems that she has run afoul of the old boys network at the FBI, and has been made the scapegoat for a botched drug raid through no fault of her own. Since Lecter has a fondness for Clarice based on their time talking with one another ten years ago, while Starling attempted to gain clues from the good Dr. to solve another case, Lecter decides to break his silence, and contacts Clarice to tell him that he is ready to come out of retirement.
Before long, Starling is on the case of trying to locate Lecter, and the trail leads to his only surviving victim, a badly disfigured Millionaire, Mason Verger (Gary Oldman) It seems that Verger has a grudge to settle with the good Dr. and has offered a very large reward for him. The film then becomes a deadly cat and mouse game between, Starling, Lecter, Verger, and the authorities, as well as oily agent Paul Krendler (Ray Liotta) who has a serious grudge against Starling.

The film does has some very intense and violent content, but is every bit as gripping as the previous film. Director Ridley Scott (Gladiator) combines gripping visuals with a solid pacing, to deliver chills and suspense. The cast is first rate and Moore is solid in her portrayal of Starling, and I for one did not even notice that Moore was taking over the Academy Award winning role made famous by Jodi Foster who declined to return for a second outing. Hopkins is chilling as Lecter, and gives a performance every bit as good as his best Actor award winning role in the previous film.

4 stars out of 5.