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Red Dragon (2002), R
Analysis Date: October 5, 2002
CAP Score: 30
CAP Influence Density: 1.74
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RED DRAGON (R) -- Mom/dad, this is an R-rated movie. Very "R." Hardcore "R."
Production: Dino De Laurentiis Productions, Universal Pictures
Distribution: MCA/Universal Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director(s): Brett Ratner
Producer(s): Andrew Z. Davis, Dino De Laurentiis, James M. Freitag, Terry Needham, Martha Schumacher
Written by/Screenplay: Thomas Harris (novel), Ted Tally (screenplay)
Cinematography/Camera: Dante Spinotti
Music: Danny Elfman,, Jack Newlon
Film Editing: Mark Helfrich
Casting: Kathy Driscoll, Francine Maisler
Production Design: Kristi Zea
Art Direction: Tim Galvin, Steve SakladJosh
Again we see Hannibal "Cannibal" Lecter (Anthony Hopkins - Silence of the Lamb, Hannibal). But he's not "back" since this is the first in the Thomas Harris trilogy about Dr. Hannibal Lecter. The movie opens in 1980 Baltimore with a short sequence of how serial killer Lecter was first captured, violently, by FBI Agent Will Graham (Edward Norton) who has a special talent of being able to think like a serial killer while serving law and order, ending Lecter's string of murders. For now. Will finds some rather incriminating evidence in Lecter's things regarding recent murders. Lecter immediately launches into his murder mode and tries to kill Will in a very graphic display of attempted knife murder. After stabbing Will, Lecter expalins what is happening in Will's body while holding the knife to Will's throat. Equally graphic is Will defending himself with a full quiver of arrows and a gun.
Anthony Hopkins, a renowned and big star of the big screen, loved by millions, is a master at portraying evil as Hannibal Lecter. I was just on a talk show last week (VCYAmerica.org) and one of the callers mentioned how it seems the media moguls present actors and actresses in such a way that even if their performances are sinful and evil, if they are good at it they are to be lauded. Hannibal Lecter is just one example of demonstrating sin and evil behavior as good talent [Isa. 5:20].
Several years later, we see special FBI Agent Will Graham (Edward Norton), still with the special gift of being able to think like serial killers. But Graham has gone into much needed and much deserved retirement to enjoy life for a change with his wife Molly (Mary-Louise Parke) and son Josh (Tyler Patrick Jones). They live the idyllic life of a loving and mutually supportive family while Will repairs boats. Will, Molly and Josh are each an integral part of a wonderful family unit until...
Now appears on the criminal horizon the serial killer Francis Dolarhyde (Ralph Fiennes). Will's ex-boss, Jack Crawford (Harvey Keitel) appears also, not on the horizon but rather at Will's doorstep to pull Will out of retirement for just this case. Jack knows that only Will has the special gift (or burden) to be able to think like serial killers to track Dolarhdye down and capture him.
Dolarhyde has the nickname "Tooth Fairy" killer given by the tabloids since he murders families, two so far, in their sleep and bites them as a signature. Dolarhyde does not like being called Tooth Fairy. He fancies himself as the Red Dragon with the massive tattoos to prove it. Indeed, Dolarhyde is so enraged by being dubbed the "tooth Fairy" by the tabloids, Dolarhyde torments, tortures and kills one of the tabloid reporters, Freddy Lounds (Philip Seymour Hoffman) by gluing him to a wheelchair then setting him afire and rolling him down a street ablaze..
Seeing great similarities between Dolarhyde and the incarcerated Hannibal Lecter, Will enlists Lecter's warped and evil mind to help anticipate the moves of Dolarhyde, to gain insight into such a mind and to devise a plan to capture him. Some twisted camaraderie is displayed in that relationship since it was Will who captured Lecter.
One of Dolarhyde's jobs was to deliver special film to a lab. At the lab is co-worker Reba McClane (Emily Watson). Reba is blind and is as nice and kind as can be. Being blind, Reba is well-suited for darkroom operations but ill suited for visual clues of danger. By paying special attention to Reba, Dolarhyde is successful in convincing her to "go out" with him. At his home, Dolarhyde wants to kill her but doesn't. One thing we do find out about the kind and humble Reba is that she is not that inhibited sexually. Indeed, she is sexually aggressive with Dolarhyde. Graphically aggressive.
Things progress to the point of Dolarhyde launching a murder campaign against Will's family -- with Lecter's help. Lecter and Dolarhyde had been communicating through a special code which included what appeared to be Chapter/Verse numbers from the Bible. If it were not for the sharpness of one of the investigative aides and his familiarity with the Bible, the code would never have been noticed let alone broken. Lecter found Will's home address and got it to Dolarhyde. The rest is formula plot. Graphic formula. Very graphic formula
Mom/dad, this is an R-rated movie. Very "R." Hardcore "R." There is full male nudity repeatedly; oral sex implied by proximity and motion; images of nudity; sexual references, jokes and innuendo; sexual touching [**, Rev. 22:15, Eph. 5:5, Rev. 21:8]. There is knife impalement; crime scene gore; crime scene photo gore; human incineration; a man biting the tongue from another man; gunfire murders; placing a shotgun in a mouth; drawings and portrayal of exceptionally brutal child sexual abuse; a glass shard held to an abducted child's face; much blood splatter; a symphony orchestra eats one of its members [Ps. 11:5, Prov. 3:31-32]. The language was not any better [Col. 3:8, Prov. 22:11, Eph. 5:4, Deut 5:11].
One might think the extent of influence of this sort of "entertainment" is nothing unusual. Well, let me describe a scene in the audience. A woman sitting with her husband behind me was occasionally noted as being animated during the show. When the final sequence of gory combat between Dolarhyde, Will, Molly and Josh came to the screen, the woman shouted "Get the gun! SHOOT him!" about events happening onscreen. When I left, she was slumped over nearly comatose with fear and her husband could not get her to rise to leave. This may be an example of ultra-sensitivity to Hollywood horror, but it is an example of reality. Indeed, everyone leaving the theater seemed more somber than typical for such genre of "entertainment", at least everyone but a few of the underage attendees who blurted a few things - nervously - to make them sound cool and immune to such invasive programming. There you have it for those who feel entertainment does not affect anyone. And for those who think the petrified lady was only one isolated case of someone who should not have gone to this movie getting all bent out of shape for no reason, how many must there be to make the point?
There is much more abuse of wholesome morality and ethics in this film than I have summarized above. See the rather lengthy listing in the Findings/Scoring section for a full accounting.
If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.
*******Food for Daily Thought*******
As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
Offense to God (O)(2):
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|NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.|
|"There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our nearly seven years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.|