Everyone’s favorite cannibal, Hannibal Lecter, originated in the novel The Red Dragon by Thomas Harris in 1981. Lecter has come to life in several film adaptations, including Silence of the Lambs. Now in a television adaptation, which has recently begun its second season, Lecter takes center stage as a cultured, intelligent serial killer.
Perhaps it appeals to a niche audience with a strong stomach, but the cinematography is to die for (pun intended). I have never seen a show that manages to get such pristine, artistic shots. Part of watching a thriller show is the camera work. The camera builds the suspense, with the music aiding every step of the way. Every aspect of Hannibal is delightful—and terrifying. Beware, spoilers are ahead in this review.
Season one ended with Will Graham (Hugh Dancy, Adam) framed for the murder of Abigail Hobbs which Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen, Pusher trilogy) committed. Graham desperately seeks for answers, especially to the question of how his closest confidant could betray him and get away with it. Graham’s own sanity is questioned by himself and everyone around him.
The first episode begins with a bang. Lecter and Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne, The Matrix) are fighting, where it is only possible for one victor to remain alive. The episode swiftly jumps 12 weeks earlier in order to show the build-up to this particular scuffle. I assume viewers won’t see the resolution to this fight until the season finale.
Graham is in prison awaiting his trial. He works on memory retrieval of his own repressed memories with Alana Bloom, with a visually stunning scene where Bloom transforms into a black horned monster. The computer generated imagery is incredibly well done, and it feels as though you are losing your sanity along with Graham. The memory recovery leaves me somewhat doubtful; however, I can suspend my disbelief for the sake of enjoyment.
Episode two is definitely my favorite so far, out of both seasons one and two. A farming silo is filled with perfectly preserved dead bodies, aligned in a color palette by skin tone. Roland Umber, one of the bodies in the silo, survived his preservation (being injected with heroin, coated in resin and stitched to other bodies) and gruesomely removed himself from the situation, only to run into his murderer. The scene was so captivating I forgot to blink. The show has truly mastered the art of suspense. Even though we have never seen Umber, I could see myself rooting for him.
Unfortunately, Umber does not escape his pursuer and eventually dies by falling off a cliff into a river, where his body is then later found. Lecter ends up murdering the maniac killer, placing him in the eye of the silo and then harvesting his leg for dinner. Lecter still remains innocent, though, as no one thinks the cannibalistic killer is really him.
Graham’s trial in the most recent episode leaves me holding my breath to see his fate until this Friday in the episode Takiawase. Graham represents total empathy, so it is easy to be on his side. Lecter, on the other hand, is devoid of empathy, however his strange relationship with Graham makes you question if he really does lack all empathy. I also wonder how long Lecter’s facade can last before he is found out. Mads Mikkelsen certainly was an excellent pick to play Lecter.
The show is a psychological horror series that keeps audiences on their toes with its twists and turns, even if you are familiar with the basic premise of the series. Hannibal season two is just as good if not better than season one. Fans of thrillers, incredible acting, breathtaking footage, and an intriguing plot, have a vital need to watch Hannibal. Be aware that viewer discretion is advised. The show airs weekly at 10 p.m. Fridays on NBC.
By Sophie Whyte
Are you watching Hannibal?