8:00 PM, 22nd March, 2003
Red Dragon is the prequel to Silence of the Lambs and features a different detective (Will Graham, played by a suitably haunted Norton) hunting a different serial killer, Dolarhyde (Fiennes). To do it, Graham ((mdash)) the man who put Hannibal Lecter behind bars ((mdash)) must seek Lecter's counsel.
This necessity allows the movie to rekindle the dynamics between Hannibal (Hopkins) and the agent on the other side of the glass, fencing verbally and trying to outwit each other. That, with the other Lambs references, is a delight to watch. The unconvincing histrionics of Hannibal are, thankfully, replaced by solid filmmaking.
The other great strength of the movie is the depth it allows the character of Dolarhyde, the killer. You witness his propensity for gut-churning violence, but also glimpse the scarred and brutalised human being underneath. Mirroring the Graham-Lecter dynamic is Dolarhyde's growing relationship with a blind co-worker (Watson), which develops with the weight of a Greek tragedy. Is redemption possible?
Impeccable performances all round somehow manage to pull this off. This film doesn't do anything particularly new; it's just executed flawlessly.
10:00 PM, 22nd March, 2003
Murder By Numbers is a psychological suspense-thriller that tells the story of a homicide detective, Cassie Mayweather (Bullock), and her new partner, Sam Kennedy (Chaplin), pitting wits against two malevolently brilliant young men (Gosling and Pitt) in a murder case.
The story revolves around high-school seniors, Richard Haywood and Justin Pendleton, two polar opposites living in an upscale seaside city in Northern California, who concoct in theory a 'perfect crime,' or more specifically, the perfect murder. When the body of a young woman is found in a nearby wood, it falls to Cassie and Ben to investigate. The evidence seems to lead in one direction, but is it necessarily the right one? Eventually, the question is whether Richard and Justin are involved ((mdash)) precisely what Cassie and Ben have to determine.
The cast is excellent, especially Gosling and Pitt. Gosling creates Richard, a manipulative and cunning boy with a cocky bravado; Pitt is moody, sensitive and introspective and renders a tortured character who tries to appear far more confident than he really is. Murder by Numbers is absorbing and provides a satisfying and thought-provoking cinematic experience.