Hannibal is a 2017 American thriller film directed by David Fincher based on the 1999 Thomas Harris novel of the same time. The film stars Gwyneth Paltrow as FBI agent Clarice Starling and Michael Fassbender as Hannibal Lecter. The film is a sequel to Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs.
Prior to his capture, Hannibal Lecter becomes the court-appointed physician of Mason Verger, a very wealthy man. However, Lecter knows that Verger is actually a sadistic pedophile. During a therapy session, Lecter stabs Verger in the back, paralyzing him, and mutilates his face. He leaves Verger alive, but the latter promises to one day have revenge.
Three years after becoming a national hero thanks to killing serial killer Jame Gumb and rescuing his captive, Ruth Martin, Clarice Starling is part of a raid on an apartment complex where meth is manufactured and sold. However, the raid goes badly wrong and several squad members are killed. Starling is forced to shoot an armed meth dealer in self defense, although the woman was holding a baby while doing so. As a result, Starling becomes a scapegoat and is held publicly responsible for the failure by Justice Department official Paul Krendler. The news reaches Verger, who tells his assistant Cordell that he needs to make a phone call.
Verger uses his immense wealth and political influence to have Starling reassigned to Lecter's case. He is pursuing an elaborate plan to capture, torture and kill Lecter, using Starling as bait. She meets Barney Matthews, who worked as an orderly at the hospital where Lecter was held, and tells Starling that Lecter said he would never go looking for her if he escaped.
Having also heard of the botched drug raid, Lecter sends Starling a mocking letter. The letter does not state where it was sent from, but Starling notices a perfume like scent on the paper and takes it to an expert, who tells her it is a rare skin cream found in only a very few places in the world. She contacts the authorities where it is available and requests surveillance tapes from the stores where the cream can be bought.
One such city is Florence, Italy, where Lecter currently resides under the alias of Dr Fell. He works as the assistant curator at a library, but the head curator has gone missing. Lecter is questioned by chief inspector Rinaldo Pazzi in connection with the disappearance. Unknown to Pazzi, Lecter has killed and eaten the caretaker.
Starling recognizes Lecter from the surveillance tapes sent from Florence and heads there to investigate, where she meets Pazzi. They learn that Verger has put out a bounty on Lecter's head; there is a reward for anyone who captures him and brings him to Verger over the FBI. In spite of Starling's warnings, Pazzi heads off to try and catch Lecter on his own, interested in the reward. However, Lecter captures him, tortures him and then electrocutes him by dropping electrical wiring into a bath.
Krendler accuses Starling of withholding the letter from Lecter, which is evidence, and she is suspended and ordered to return to the United States. Unknown to her, Lecter also returns to America and starts to stalk her. At the same time, her relationship with Barney grows and they begin to develop a romantic interest in one another.
Lecter lures Starling to a meeting in Union Station, where he is violently kidnapped by Verger's men, who are actually led by Krendler himself. When her superiors fail to act, Starling, on her own initiative, decides to infiltrate Verger's estate to rescue Lecter, wanting to take care of him herself. Meanwhile, Lecter starts talking to Cordell, who reveals that Verger is very abusive towards him. Lecter starts planting ideas in Cordell's head.
It is revealed that Verger plans to have Lecter eaten alive by a tank full of eels, which have been bred specifically for that purpose. Starling is found hiding on the estate and brought forward to watch Lecter die. However, Lecter convinces Cordell not to let Verger control him anymore, so Cordell pushes Verger into the tank where he is torn apart by the savage eels. Cordell releases Lecter, but Verger's bodyguard Margot kills Cordell by ramming him with a cattle prod. Starling wrestles with Margot and is slashed across the arm with a knife, but Lecter disembowles Margot.
Lecter takes Starling to Krendler's secluded lake house and treats her wound, giving her morphine and then making her wear a black cocktail dress. After seating her at the table, Lecter lies in wait for Krendler to arrive. Krendler wakes in and is shocked to see Starling, when Lecter steps out behind him and knocks him out. He also seats Krendler at the table and lobotomizes him, removing the top of his skull, cutting off part of his brain, cooking and eating it. Disoriented by the drugs, Starling can only watch.
As she regains her senses, Starling tries to attack Lecter, but he stills overpowers her. Seizing an opportunity, Starling kisses Lecter, distracting him long enough to allow her to handcuff his wrist to hers, just as the police descend upon the residence. However, Lecter grabs a meat cleaver and severs his own left hand to escape. He runs out the back door, thinking he has gotten away again, only to run straight into Barney, who knocks him out with a shovel.
Lecter is returned to prison and is visited one final time by Starling, who tells her that she is moving on with her life. Lecter tells her that he is happy for her, but after she leaves he sheds a tear. Starling then walks out of the asylum and shares a passionate kiss with Barney.
Gwyneth Paltrow - Clarice Starling
Michael Fassbender - Hannibal Lecter
Liam Neeson - Mason Verger
William Forsythe - Paul Krendler
Brad Dourif - Cordell Doemling
Franco Nero - Rinaldo Pazzi
Marlon Wayans - Barney Matthews