I can’t believe it’s still sunny!
Anyway, we’ve been absorbed in the new Hannibal TV series.
I think there’s something there for those familiar and not familiar with movies and/or books. It’s rare that I get into a psychological thriller, either because the psychology is a bit wet or the thrills are cheap.
Hannibal skirts that lines at times, not least of all when it rolls out the grisly tableaus (you can’t spit around this state without hitting a dead person displayed in a gruesome but artistic and conveniently TV-worthy fashion).
Nevertheless, the show is strong. Mads Mikkelsen steals the show, of course. At first he may seem wooden, but in fact it’s just superbly understated acting; even when he’s perfectly still, there’s a nuance in everything he doesn’t do. This is the perfect way to approach a character that’s so well known- we expect the glint of evil all the time and so we see it in the most mundane of his actions. For example, Hannibal repeatedly feeds people. “Here, have a delicious fillet of pork prepared in a fancy gourmet way.” The guest pops the red juicy meat in their mouth. We know that Hannibal is a cannibal. Nothing else has to be said; we watch, we know. We know that he knows.
Though the violence gets a bit much at times (I’m not squeamish, it’s just… come on… how high is the crime rate around here?!) it’s a well written and stylish show. The main plot is a cat-and-mouse between Hannibal and the protagonist Will. Will is cheese central- a gifted investigator who gets into the minds of killers, but at what cost to his sanity? Yada, yada. It actually doesn’t matter- it’s based on a classic novel, so it’s not really a cliché if they did it first. What matters is that they move onto new grounds with these old tropes. The cat-and-mouse is all done without Will knowing what Hannibal is- in fact, they become friends. The descent into madness is slow and startling, portrayed with some nice visual effects and a patient pace that you won’t get in a movie.
Of course, anyone would go mad if they found decapitated/mutilated/defenestrated naked people every day.
Give it a try.