Dr Lecter remains on the FBI's Most Wanted list. He's been free for ten years, since making his break at the end of The Silence Of The Lambs. There is an $8 million reward for information leading to his arrest. And yet he appears to go about his business untroubled by policemen, or bounty hunters.

The failure of this sequel is in the story and the detail. Example: a cop in Florence becomes suspicious of an English academic, who is about to be appointed to the top post in a prestigious library. The man looks like Lecter, but he can't be sure. He needs a fingerprint. Already we have noticed that the man is careful when drinking wine. He wipes his glass after use. The cop organises an elaborate ploy, involving a local pickpocket, when all he has to do is sneak into the man's apartment and find a thousand fingerprints.

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The film's weaknesses are well disguised by director Ridley Scott's trademark style. Everything looks as though it's shot for a commercial. FBI agent Clarice Starling, played first time around by Jodie Foster, is so different now. She's assertive, aggressive, totally on top of her game and yet what happens to her is absurd. She's reprimanded for something she didn't do, is demoted and finally grounded altogether.

She can't stop thinking about Lecter: "He's always with me, like a bad habit." And he can't stop thinking about her. Is there some kind of sick romantic undercurrent beneath the surface of this manhunt?

Every time Lecter mentions food, you can hear the sniggers. "Let's get something to eat," someone mentions on the way out of the opera. "Why not?" Lecter adds, as an aside. Because of who he is, this is played for laughs, which gives Anthony Hopkins's performance an odd Hammer horror feel to it.

Julianne Moore, as Clarice, acts her socks off, while others, such as Ray Liotta, as a Justice Department creep, are short of batteries. This is one of those films where the bad guy, who is also the hero, can do anything, such as escape from impossible situations, know the exact whereabouts of the entire cast, kill a man in a crowded street without being noticed, have access to any amount of information and enjoy the privilege of an open-ended bank account.

That may be cheating, but what about the man-eating hogs? You meet them first in Corsica, being trained to attack dummies. The next minute they're in a barn on an estate in Montpelier, Virginia. How? To enjoy Hannibal, you can't use that word.

Reviewed on: 09 Mar 2001
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We catch up with Lecter, ten years after the lambs fell silent.
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Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: David Mamet, Steven Zaillian, based on the novel by Thomas Harris

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Giancarlo Giannini, Francesca Neri, Ray Liotta, Ivano Marescotti

Year: 2000

Runtime: 135 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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