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All You Need To Know About the Red Dragon Movie
Red Dragon is an American psychological horror film created in 2002 and is the prequel to the well-known films about psychiatrist and serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Hannibal (2001). The character Dr. Hannibal Lecter was originally developed and created by Thomas Harris in his novels which were adapted into Hollywood films. The Red Dragon film was an adaptation of Harris’ novel of the same name; however, this novel had already been adapted into a film in 1986 – Manhunter.
Red Dragon was written for the screen by Ted Tally, who was also responsible for screenwriting The Silence of the Lambs (1991), and was directed by Brett Ratner. Sir Anthony Hopkins returns as Hannibal Lecter, having stared as Lecter in both previous films; as well as, starring Edward Norton as a primary character of FBI agent Will Graham. The acting skills of Ralph Fiennes, Harvey Keitel, Mary-Louise Parker, Emily Watson, and Philip Seymour Hoffman can be seen in this film.
The film begins in Baltimore, Maryland with Dr. Lecter attending a symphonic orchestral performance of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We find him irritated by one of the flute players who are repeatedly missing his part. Later, Lecter hosts a dinner part in his townhouse for the orchestra’s board of directors where the topic of the flute player’s sudden disappearance is raised. One of the guests enquires about the dish, Lecter responds stating that if he tells her what the dish is she may not try it. This indicates the food is, in fact, the flute player. (Source: http://www.universalstudios.com)
William Graham, a talented FBI agent who has been noted as having an ability to empathize with psychopathic convicts, visits Dr. Lecter. Graham has been working with Lecter on developing a psychological profile of a serial killer who removes edible parts of the victims; thus, leading Graham to believe he may be a cannibal. During the consultation, the agent discovers certain evidence which implicates Lecter. Dr. Lecter attacks and almost disembowels Graham; however, Graham is able to impale Dr. Lecter with arrows before shooting him with his handgun several times. Lecter receives a life sentence and is sent to an institution for the criminally insane. William Graham is left traumatized and chooses to retire.
Several years later, a serial killer codenamed ‘The Tooth Fairy’ makes an appearance. This convict behaves in unusual way stalking and murdering complete families during sequential full moon cycles. Jack Crawford, a special agent, contacts Graham asking for assistance with The Tooth Fairy’s psychological profile. Graham is reluctant to agree, but the weight of the families’ deaths on his conscience pushes him to join the hunt. After visiting the various crime scenes and consulting with Crawford, Graham realises he needs to consult with Lecter once more.
The Tooth Fairy’s real name is Francis Dolarhyde and he kills using the alter-alias of ‘The Great Red Dragon’. He has chosen this alias due to his obsession with the William Blake artworks, The Great Red Dragon and The Women Clothed In Sun, believing each victim slain or ‘changed’ brings him nearer to his ultimate goal of ‘becoming’ the Dragon. The pathology was developed due to severe childhood abuse experienced as a child by his sadistic grandmother.
The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun, ca. 1803-1805. Found in the Brooklyn Museum.
While the hunt for The Tooth Fairy continues, a tabloid journalist named Freddy Lounds follows Graham. As with all tabloid journalists, Lounds is a pest and he pesters Graham for leads on this case in the same way he did after the Lecter case. Unbeknown to any of the journalists or agents, a secret communication exists between Dolarhyde and Lecter. Graham’s son and wife are in danger when Lecter sends Dolarhyde the FBI agent’s family home address in one of these correspondences; thus, forcing the family to relocate to Crawford’s brother’s farm.
In the hope of luring The Tooth Fairy from his hiding place, Graham offers Lounds an exclusive interview where he details Dolarhyde as a homosexual who suffers from impotence. This statement infuriates Dolarhyde and he kidnaps the tabloid journalist gluing him to an antique wheelchair. Lounds is forced to recant the allegations after which The Tooth Fairy bites his lips off and sets him alight outside the newspaper’s offices.
Later on, at his place of employment, Dolarhyde falls madly in love with a blind co-employee named Reba McClane. They return to his home and make love; however, his alter-alias demands he murder her. In a desperate attempt to remove the Dragon’s hold on him, Dolarhyde heads to the Brooklyn Museum, removes the Blake painting, tears it apart and eats it.