I've seen "Red Dragon" years ago but couldn't recollect it from my thoughts. Last night it reappear to me that it's a great film. This of course is a remake of "Manhunter (Full Screen Edition)," the first in the series of films centering on FBI profilers, serial killers, and the infamous Hannibal Lecter, who I suppose is the modern day equivalent of "Jack the Ripper." I haven't read the novel by Thomas Harris so I can't say which is the more authentic, but they're both very good films.
As in the original, "Red Dragon" centers around the character of Will Graham, a retired FBI profiler who is brought back to help find a serial killer (Ralph Fiennes), known as "The Tooth Fairy," preying on women with families. He kills once a month in sync with the lunar cycle, so Graham has time to investigate the two crime scenes and look for evidence that would indicate who the next target is. The beginning of the scene will capture your interest right away, because it sets up the relationship of Hopkins and Norton; it also gives Hopkins, without whom this film wouldn't exist, more screen-time.
Also as in the original, Hannibal Lecter is a supporting figure, not the main attraction, though Anthony Hopkins certainly chews up the scenery in a performance he's gotten quite good at. The relationship between Lecter and Graham never intrigued me as much and I'm not convinced that Norton was the best choice for the part of Graham. Somehow, Norton came across to me as too innocent and youthful for the kind of role he was playing. Towards the end he turns out to be a good performance. The movie doesn't play up his character as much as "Manhunter" did for William L. Petersen, but that's just a style difference in the directors. Weaknesses, though, were compensated for by a marvelous performance from Ralph Fiennes as the killer as Dolarhyde, and he's downright creepy. Michael Mann cast one of his favorites, Tom Noonan, as Dolarhyde in the original, and he played the part brilliantly. Though here, the killer is developed more and you see why he became such a twisted figure. Think Norman Bates on steroids. And that tattoo is down right gorgeous. Emily Watson did a good job as Reba and there's really not much I can say about her.
When Michael Mann made "Manhunter" in 1986, he was at the peak of his success with "Miami Vice" and the movie reflected that genre, with hip characters and rock & roll music on the soundtrack. Who could forget the ending when Will Graham crashes through the window while "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is blasting away. Here, Brett Ratner (the "Rush Hour" films) directs "Red Dragon" as a more traditional suspense film without the flashiness of Mann's creation. Different creations of the same story, but both very good in their own way.