After a decade in abeyance, the courtly cannibal, Hannibal Lecter, returns to the screen, again played by Anthony Hopkins, under the direction of Ridley Scott. When F.B.I. Agent Clarice Starling (Julianne Moore) is blamed for a botched drug bust, her boss Paul Krendler (Ray Liotta) makes a media circus of her humiliation, which catches the attention of Lecter. Now a hardened veteran, she begins receiving letters from the twisted genius, who remains obsessed with her. Yet she's not the only one interested in drawing out the psychopath, now lecturing on the Renaissance in Florence. Italian detective Pazzi (Giancarlo Giannini) hopes to impress his young wife by nailing the reward for his capture, and wealthy pedophile Mason Verger (Gary Oldman) is eager to take revenge against the cannibal for leaving him with a hideously deformed face. But they're no match for Hannibal's coyly satanic ubiquity, which bewilders his quickly narcotized foes before he administers a punishment sufficiently grotesque to suit his sense of amusement.The odious Krendler, in particular, learns to use his gray matter for, perhaps, the first time in his life. However, all is prologue to his fated rendezvous with Clarice. A banquet for the splatterati, reveling as it does in gore and dismemberment, the film features brilliant work by a stellar cast, and the kind of meticulous art direction and lushly magnificent photography that one has come to expect of one of Scott.
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