Hannibal: Aye, Alright.

by thethreepennyguignol

Well, hello, you elusive readers, you. I’d apologise for my lack of posting but I’d feel far too much like a lecturer breezing in late for a class everyone was hoping they’d forget to turn up to so I won’t do that. Essentially: I’m back.

Recently, I was forcibly coerced (ish) by my-well, now we’ve hit the boyfriend/partner barrier. I dislike the term “boyfriend” but “partner” feels wrong for an eighteen-year-old ah-tiste and a twentysomething version of Frasier Crane sitting around drinking wine and talking shite about litrechoor. Partner is someone you’re in the crucial stage of living with but not quite started to find physically repulsive. From now on, I shall simply refer to him as….my consort. Right, so, I was coerced by my consort (ah, so much better) into watching the TV redo of Hannibal, starring Mads Mikklesen as the eponymous Lecter and Hugh Dancy as Will Graham, yer usual brilliant-but-damaged investigator.

There were several factors riding against my enjoyment of the series; firstly, and most importantly, I hate the character of Hannibal Lecter. Silence of the Lames is, simply and purely, one of the most overrated films I’ve ever seen-I admire Anthony Hopkins as an actor, and Jodie Foster put in a very good performance, but I find Lecter himself to be an intrinsically silly character precisely because they don’t embrace the silliness of the role. All horror and horror-related roles have to accept that, at their heart, it’s all a bit daft. Hannibal was presented with such po-faced sincerity I instantly hated him. He can stick his head up his qiante.

In addition to this, Laurry Fishburne was in it. By which I mean, LAURENCE FISHBURNE: ACTOR. He was Larry Fishburne and wonderful in Apocalypse Now, then he was LAURENCE FISHBURNE: ACTOR and terrible in The Matrix (which is one of the most Godawfully humourless films I’ve ever seen, but I digress). And here he was doing some PROPER ACTING. Fuck.

However, I was actually pleasantly surprised by the debut episode as a whole. Hugh Dancy was excellent as the real crux of the show, helped along with a liberal sprinkling of clever visuals and sharp plotting. I liked that the show shifted focus from LOOK HE’S A CANNIBAL! BUT HE’S ALL CHARMING! OOH HE’S EATING LUNGS! LOOK AT HIM THERE, EATING THOSE LUNGS! to Lecter as a very intelligent bloke who happened to have a taste for human flesh. Mads does a grand job of somehow bringing a wry self-awareness to the role, and much credit has to be given to the beautiful cinematography; the first time we see Lecter, lit to look like a skull, the camera casually deepening the focus of the shot till we finally set eyes on his taut stare, is simply perfect. You should have heard the noises I was making, close as I was to televisual ecstasy. And because the show isn’t all about him, Larry (I said it) reverts back to being a very strong supporting actor, a vein shot through with rationality against the slightly supernatural Dancy. It wasn’t perfect- my consort pointed out rightly that two characters were just stapled to the plot in order to chug out some useful exposition, and it didn’t do much in the way of tension building.

But hey: this is the first episode of a television reboot of an iconic franchise that’s been mostly film-based up till now. There are going to be kinks to be ironed out, and I trust Dancy, Mads and-dare I say it- Larry to do what they can. I’m interested to see the rest of it, and that’s really not too bad an opener.