Since making an unforgettable impression in 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs, cinema’s favourite cannibal Hannibal Lecter has gnawed his way into the popular consciousness. But this long-awaited sequel didn’t have a smooth journey to the screen, with both original Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) and original director Jonathan Demme rejecting the project. However, Anthony Hopkins does reprise his Oscar-winning role as Lecter, this time with his tongue firmly in his cheek. Top FBI agent Starling – played with creditable conviction by Julianne Moore in the absence of Foster – is faced with the aftermath of a failed drugs raid. To escape the bad publicity, she’s sent to the house of a former victim of Lecter’s, Mason Verger (an extraordinary performance from an unrecognisable Gary Oldman), who hopes to revitalise her search for his attacker. Fans of the first film will be disappointed with the lack of mystery, suspense and psychological resonance here, but there’s loads more Lecter for the money (as the title suggests), and plenty of gory action and black humour. The film was a huge hit when it opened in the States, taking $58 million in its first three days, which, at the time, was the third biggest in cinema history.
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