Hannibal is an intriguing series.
It tells the story of Dr Hannibal Lecter, who first came to the screen through Brian Cox, but cinema fans will most likely associate the character with the chilling portrayal by Anthony Hopkins. As TV drama serials are now “the place to be” for our mighty actors and actresses, who is the actor of choice for the role? The wonderful Mads Mikkelsen, who always puts in a great performance, as can be seen in Casino Royale, Flame & Citron and The Green Butchers.
In this series, Hannibal hasn’t yet been sussed out for who he really is, although hints are given early on, such as him inviting people to an elaborate dinner – lying to them about the meat they’re sitting down to eat, which turn to blatant obviousness later – but such is the art of story-building. We see him building his relationship with patient and FBI criminal profiler Will Graham, who kind-of channels what happened at a crime scene to learn how the victims ended up the way they did, and we see their dead bodiesreform back into living ones as the so-far unseen footage is reversed. Will’s clearly a bit of a disturbed individual, played superbly by Hugh Dancy, because we occasionally see his bizarre hallucigenic visions that he gets from time to time.
The murders often have a fresh and inventive look to them – and almost every episode of Hannibal has a separate murder to be solved, which makes me care rather less for seeing more psychobabble chatter between the characters, which tends to dominate some episodes and makes them drag, although there is a season-long story arc about a nasty piece of work called Garett Jacob Hobbs who killed eight girls. His daughter Abigail survives an abduction, when another disturbed individual starts planting women in the ground, alive, with a view to letting them reconnect with nature. However, when similar murders to Hobbs’ continue to happen, is there a copycat killer doing the rounds?
And for one of the episodes, a body is found in a hotel bathroom that looks identical to the one in The Shining…
The cast is rounded out by Laurence Fishburne as Jack Crawford, FBI head honcho, who asks Will to work his magic on deducing what happens at crime scenes, Caroline Dhavernas as Dr. Alana Bloom, the flame-haired Lara Jean Chorostecki as Freddie Lounds, a female journalist who writes for tattlecrime.com and Hettienne Park who plays Beverly Katz, a colleague to both Will and Jack who seems to be there only to fill in the numbers, rather than serve a distinct purpose, generally giving Will someone to moan about Jack to and little else.
There’s some great writing that shows the similarities between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter, while there are some characters in Dr Lecter’s psychiatrist chair who I find of more interest than others, with some making me wish for the next scene to begin.
When it comes to the films, initially I liked Silence of the Lambs, but felt that it didn’t stand up to repeated viewings. Hannibal was a much better film, and I always enjoy a re-watch of that. However, Manhunter, and its remake, Red Dragon, have never worked for me.
Go to page 2 for a look at the presentation and the extras.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.