Based on the novel by Thomas Harris, RED DRAGON stars Edward Norton as Will Graham, the intuitive FBI agent who captured the notorious Hannibal "the Cannibal" Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). When another killer, dubbed "the Tooth Fairy," begins a series of bizarre, seemingly random killings, the now-retired Graham reluctantly agrees to aid in the investigation. In order to get further into the mind set of the murderer, Graham consults the imprisoned Lecter, who offers cryptic commentary that the determined agent must decipher. However, the Tooth Fairy himself, Francis Dolarhyde (Ralph Fiennes), is also in contact with the infamous epicurean, and the case soon develops into a deadly cat-and-mouse game, with Lecter deviously playing both sides.
Rather than attempting to remake MANHUNTER--Michael Mann's 1986 adaptation of RED DRAGON starring William L. Petersen as Graham and Brian Cox as Lecter--or recreate the monster-movie atmosphere of HANNIBAL, director Brett Ratner wisely chooses to focus on the character-driven specifics of the first Hannibal Lecter novel. As in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, the unblinking Hopkins makes the most out of his screen time as the eloquent yet terrifying former forensic psychologist. Norton is excellently understated as the talented investigator, while Fiennes explores the full range of his conflicted character, from a sensitive man-child to a methodical psychopath. These key performances are enhanced by strong supporting turns by Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Harvey Keitel, and Mary-Louise Parker. Ratner's capable direction extends to his choice of crew, which includes SILENCE OF THE LAMBS screenwriter Ted Tally and production designer Kristen Zea, as well as MANHUNTER cinematographer Dante Spinotti. This collection of talent combines to create an engaging and eerie thriller that brings the Hopkins-as-Lecter trilogy full circle.