RED DRAGON. (2002) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

RED DRAGON. (2002) DIRECTED BY BRETT RATNER. STARRING ANTHONY HOPKINS, ED NORTON, HARVEY KEITEL, PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN, RALPH FIENNES, MARY-LOUISE PARKER AND EMILY WATSON. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is a superb horror film. There isn’t a single bad thing to say about it. It’s one fifth of the fantastic quintet of Hannibal Lecter films that also includes THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, HANNIBAL and HANNIBAL RISING and MANHUNTER.

This film, though it was made after THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, is actually the prequel to it. It first of all tells us how evil genius Hannibal Lecter came to the attention of the police in the first place, and the gory circumstances of his apprehension and incarceration in that special cell for the criminally insane in which we are accustomed to seeing him. You know, with the mask on and everything so he can’t (literally) bite the hand that feeds him, haha.

Then it tells us a different and equally thrilling story. The story, to be precise, of the deranged serial killer known to the police and the media as The Tooth Fairy. This is a killer who slaughters entire families in the most sickening ways. Who, if anyone, is capable of catching such a maniac…? The FBI are putting all of their eggs in one basket on this one, folks.

These eggs take the form of Special Agent Will Graham, the man who caught Hannibal Lecter. (I’m not really saying he’s an egg, of course, it’s just a metaphor!) Now, Graham adroitly picks Lecter’s brains in an attempt to figure out the identity of The Tooth Fairy.

The scenes of verbal thrust and parry in which the two engage with each other are terrific fun. Anthony Hopkins is just so good as Hannibal Lecter that you feel you could watch him in the role for all eternity. Well, that’s how I feel about his faultless and gripping performances, anyway. The reader, naturally, may have a different opinion…!

Ralph Fiennes is also utterly electrifying as the messed-up photograph-and-home-movies development technician whose upbringing was so abusive you could almost forgive him for turning out so loopy. We see rather a lot of Ralph’s naked butt in the movie. He’s in great shape and one gets the impression that he likes to show off his body.

It’s certainly not the first time we’ve seen his naked butt in a film. Remember THE END OF THE AFFAIR with Julianne Moore and Stephen Ray…? Phwoarrr…! (On another note, one can’t help but wonder what Professor Dumbledore would have made of such flagrantly saucy shenanigans on the part of Voldemort, the Harry Potter villain…!)

In SCHINDLER’S LIST, I think he might have been nekkid as well, just before the famous balcony scene in which he picks off concentration camp inmates with his rifle while his lady love bitches from the bed at him. ‘Amon, you fucking idiot, knock it off!’ Or words to that effect.

Harvey Keitel as FBI Agent Jack Crawford is another actor whose naked butt we’ve also seen on the big screen, THE PIANO with Holly Hunter being a definite case in point. The late great Philip Seymour Hoffman does not show off his naked butt in his film, though he does appear partially-dressed in one scene, haha. He turns in a great performance as the loathsome investigative journalist Freddy Lounds who meets with a gruesome death at the hands of the killer.

There are so many memorable scenes in the film that it’s hard to single out just one or two for special mention. I love when Ralph Fiennes is getting a blow-job from ANGELA’S ASHES lead actress Emily Watson while he’s watching the home movies of the next family he plans to kill.

Reba McClane is blind, you see, so she doesn’t know what he’s looking at. She actually thinks he’s turned-on because of her…! It’s just so twisted and somehow disturbed that it makes for unmissable viewing. 

Can you imagine getting a blow-job off your wan from ANGELA’S ASHES? She’s an excellent actress and I honestly dig her but she’s got such a miserable face, God love her. If she was giving someone a blow-job, it’s probably be with the same pained expression of someone performing a tiresome but necessary chore that she seems to wear in all her films. I also love the tiger-petting scene for the powerful emotions which it unleashes in both Reba and Dolarhyde.

There’s a nice little twist at the end which leads us neatly into THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Watching all five Hannibal Lecter films back-to-back or, say, over the course of one weekend, would make for a great horror movie marathon or film festival theme. Feel free to use my idea. Don’t worry, you won’t be stealing it or anything. It’s already totally patent-pending, I can assure you…!

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
 
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO
Her new book, THIRTEEN STOPS EARLIER, is out now from Poolbeg Books:
https://amzn.to/3ulKWkv
Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:
https://www.amazon.com/Thirteen-Stops-Sandra-Harris-ebook/dp/B089DJMH64
The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:
 https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thirteen-Stops-Later-Book-ebook/dp/B091J75WNB/
 

THE END OF THE AFFAIR. (1999) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©


THE END OF THE AFFAIR. (1999) BASED ON THE BOOK BY GRAHAM GREENE.
WRITTEN, DIRECTED AND CO-PRODUCED BY NEIL JORDAN.
STARRING JULIANNE MOORE, RALPH FIENNES, STEPHEN REA, JASON ISAACS, JAMES BOLAM AND IAN HART.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘Love doesn’t end, just because we don’t see each other.’

I love this film, characterised by gorgeous scenes of endless heavy rainfall in post-war Britain and a rather spiffing shot of Ralph Fiennes bare backside captured splendidly in mid-coitus. Phwoar. The more I see of this guy, the more I fancy him.  

I saw the film on the big screen back in 1999 when it was first released. I’ve had fond memories of it ever since, though it certainly wouldn’t appeal to lovers of action movies as it’s quite slow. That suits me though, being quite a slow-moving person myself, lol.

There’s a bit too much religion in it; that’s possibly the only aspect of the film I didn’t enjoy, but otherwise, it’s as damn near perfect as anything else you’ll see. It’ll appeal to fans of history and thwarted love affairs, heavy rainfall in cinema and Ralph Fiennes’s lovely bare arse doing the old in-out, in-out. What’s not to love?

Ralph- that’s ‘Rafe’ to you!- plays Maurice Bendrix, a moderately successful English novelist in wartime and post-wartime Britain. Well, he’s had one of his books made into a film, so, if that’s moderate success, I’ll have some, please. Beats obscurity and starving in the proverbial garret any day!

Anyway, one rainy night after the war, Maurice bumps into Henry Miles (Stephen Rea), a politician with whose wife, the beautiful Sarah, Maurice had a raging affair during the war.

Seeing the cuckolded Henry again encourages Maurice to re-kindle his acquaintance- and romance- with Sarah, subtly played by Julianne Moore. It’s not difficult to fool poor Henry, Gawd bless his naive, too-trusting buttons.

If ever a man was downbeat, downtrodden and expecting to be made a fool of, it’s poor old Henry. Maurice and Sarah are taking the actual piss by the way in which they practically have sex under Henry’s nose and get away with it. Even in Henry’s own house, on Henry’s own couch, of all places…!

Henry needs to grow a pair, seriously, but I think Henry thinks he’s punching above his weight in marrying Sarah, and is therefore grateful that she consents to stay married to him while still having her little affairs.

Anyway, Maurice has always wondered why Sarah broke off her affair with him during the war years, when London was having the bejeesus bombed out of her by nasty Uncle Adolf and Company; now, in 1946, having inveigled his way back into Sarah and Henry’s lives again quite by chance, he might just finally get to find out.

Three members of the eventual cast of the Harry Potter films are to be found here; Ralph Fiennes as Maurice/Lord Voldemort; Jason Isaacs as the rather surplus to requirements priest/Lucius Malfoy and Ian Hart as the private eye Parkis/Professor Quirrell from HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE.

I disliked intensely the attempt to make Julianne Moore’s character Sarah into some kind of a saint at the end. As the friend with whom I recently re-watched the film pronounced uncompromisingly, she wasn’t a saint, she was a shameless and adulterous slag. I don’t mean to slut-shame, by the way, lol. I’m just telling it like it is.

I love this film, a rain-spattered, doomed wartime romance- positively the best kind of doomed romance there is!- and I have particularly fond memories of watching it in the cinema, so it’ll always get a thumbs-up from me. Women will probably relish all the soul-searching and nudie Ralph Fiennes; insensitive males will more than likely just switch over and watch the footy. Their loss, folks…       

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1781994234