TV Review: Hannibal
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 12 years you’ve heard of Hannibal Lecter. You’ve probably watched Silence of the Lambs, perhaps quoted some of the more infamous Lecter lines; ‘liver and Chianti’ spring to mind. Or even read the novels by Thomas Harris. You may think Lecter couldn’t get any colder, more calculating or creepy. You’re wrong.
The new, intense and strangely hypnotic series Hannibal brings the characters introduced in Harris’ book Red Dragon to life on the small screen. If you have read the novel then you know where the series is heading but that doesn’t make it any less of an intriguing and mesmerising journey. Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) is a gifted FBI profiler haunted by his ability to empathise with the serial killers and criminally insane individuals he is sent to hunt. Initially brought into an investigation on missing college girls by Special Agent Jack Crawford (Lawrence Fishburne), Graham struggles to create a profile when one of the missing girls is returned to her bed dead. He suspects this is an apologetic gesture from the killer. But another girl is found mounted on the horns of a deer which has the hallmarks of a copycat. Crawford reaches out to respected psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter (Danish actor, Mads Mikkelsen) for additional help, who of course takes an avid interest in the case, and in Will Graham in whom he sees a kindred spirit.
Graham is a tortured soul. He sees and understands things about the crimes and the killers that others do not. Extremely keen to avoid meaningful social contact (he wears his glasses low on his bridge to make sure he never looks someone in the eye) Will took a position as a lecturer on serial killers at the FBI academy but is soon drawn back into the active world of death. Unable to escape his nightmares, Graham often wakes in the early hours of the morning soaked in sweat and surrounded by the many stray dogs he has taken in. But will the ever increasingly strange and twisted cases he is asked to consult on be too much for his troubled psyche?
Lecter is a delight to watch. You are captivated by the character. You know he is bad. But he is so good at it. You almost forget the brutality he is capable of. The suave, refined and controlled persona never waivers whether Hannibal is preparing freshly harvested human lungs for his dinner or providing council to his patients or the FBI. And when he offers food to those around him, you are never quite sure exactly what’s in it. But how long can Hannibal operate unnoticed by the FBI? How long before Will suspects something?
Hannibal is a must watch for fans of not only the books and the movies but anyone who enjoys a slick production involving dark and twisted minds and the crimes they commit. Filmed with subdued lighting and grey overtones, there is a sense of restraint about everything. Nothing is over the top, be it the crime scenes, the costumes or the characters. Yet you are drawn in by it all. It leaves you feeling slightly creeped out but in an ‘I want more’ kind of way.
In the second episode ‘Amuse-Bouche’, Will helps to try and find a killer who is using his victims as fertiliser for his mushrooms. Yes- you read right. People as fertiliser. Meanwhile a tabloid reporter is snooping around wanting a scoop on the case and on Will Graham. But when she is found listening at the keyhole in Lecter’s office, who is now Will’s shrink, her safety is called into doubt. Can Will figure out who is behind the crop of bodies buried in the forest before another innocent person goes missing? And how far will Lecter go to protect Graham from the prying eyes of the press? Make sure you make your reservation for the unmissable next serve of ‘Hannibal’.
Hannibal airs Wednesday nights on Seven in Australia.