Archives for posts with tag: Hannibal Lecter

​I just watched Solace, and, along with a general impression, moments and images still flash through my mind. Ironically, it reminded me stylistically of the TV series Hannibal. It used unexpected imagery in artistic ways, embedding impressions flawlessly in the viewing experience. The irony of course is that Anthony Hopkins starred in Solace, long after he made Hannibal Lecter a horrorhousehold name. It’s probably entirely coincidental that the Hannibal Lecter TV series he had nothing to do with had so much in common visually with the movie Solace. It’s very odd, though.

His John Clancy is my favorite of his characters in quite some time. Rich and deep, Clancy gives his portrayer a lot to work with, which he does to perfection. A touch telepath who wears tragedy like an uncomfortable overcoat, he reluctantly helps an old friend find and stop a killer. Along the way, he finds a new friend, a strength he thought he’d lost, and possibly a measure of peace.

For all its artistic beauty, the movie shows crime scenes in real and surreal detail. Some of Clancy’s vision are bloody and violent. All of it leads to a showdown played out on mental as well as physical planes. Emotional trauma is at the forefront of many moments, particularly a satisfying ending I thought I glimpsed early on, from mere hints of foreshadowing. Or perhaps bits of writer’s instinct. 

Jeffrey Dean Morgan played his old friend Joe, a dedicated cop with a secret he knows Clancy knows. The eventual reveal and quiet acknowledgments revealed as part of the story’s unfolding the burdens such a man as John Clancy must bear. Morgan’s excellent performance was a reminder of what a wonderful actor he is, for those who can’t help being caught up in the dark days of the Negpocalypse that is his role on The Walking Dead.

I’d seen trailers for Solace for some time. They didn’t do justice to this tight, taut, and mesmerizingly vivid film.

Solace Trailer

I’ve found the current season of Hannibal strong and compelling and unsettling and frustrating. As a great admirer of Thomas Harris and his creations, I’ve found it tempting and difficult throughout the series to reconcile Harris’ vision with Bryan Fuller’s, though I know it’s best not to try.

The past couple of episodes in particular seemed to focus on shock value…violence for violence’s sake. The incongruous beauty of slow motion blood drips and Hannibal’s meal preparations all but replaced with Mason Verger’s visceral thirst for revenge and his sister and therapist’s subtly blatant affair didn’t sit well for me. Something I love about Thomas Harris’ writing is his fine touch with sophisticated violence. The TV series has always been sophisticated in a different way, with its violence both surreal and artistic. I feared all of that was being lost.

Then tonight the series fast forwarded itself three years. Events shifted drastically and it was as if the entire construct righted itself and came back into sharp focus. The Red Dragon was born.

And The Tooth Fairy, with his bloody murders and obsession with reflection, appeared. Finally we get to the book the series is based upon and so far I am not disappointed. Richard Armitage is emerging as a formidable opponent for Will, the FBI, and Hannibal’s great mind.

As an aside I now feel I know more about tattooing that I ever have before. Suffice it to say that after seeing the process so close up, it’s pretty amazing that the end result is often very beautiful.

While the past couple of weeks of Hannibal left me wondering what happened to this series I admire so much and diving deep into think-of-it-as-alternate-reality-Doctor-Lecter mode, the hour I just watched left me wanting more. I read somewhere that Bryan Fuller has said this season is the story he really wanted to tell. Going by the latest episode, I’ve decided it’s also a story I really want to see play out. I’m so sorry Hannibal has been cancelled, and I’m equally grateful the network is airing the final episodes. I hope it goes out with the same fascinating blend of beauty and horror it thrilled us with from the start.

This article has an interesting theory that Hannibal Lecter’s famous fava beans line in The Silence of the Lambs is a medical joke. The idea is that liver, beans, and wine can’t be consumed by people taking MAOIs. It says Thomas Harris sometimes includes subtle jokes in his novels (which makes him an even cooler author, in my opinion).

I can buy that it was an oblique joke. Lecter is the kind of criminal genius who would get a kick out of making such an obscure joke that it would sail right over the heads of most people. I can’t see it as indication that he was off his meds at that time, though, since it was a reference to a past event. Unless, of course, it was an even more subtle needle planted into the ether, because he knew Doctor Chilton was listening in on his conversations with Clarice. What a great way that would be to keep his weasly little keeper awake at night, worrying that his pet psychopath was off his meds and clearmind plotting.

Whether it really is a double layered (Harris and his character) inside joke I don’t know. It is fun to ponder new insights into both Doctor Hannibal Lecter and his brilliant creator.

This way cool article about the most beautifully, shockingly, horrifyingly delicious series on TV gives the first truly indepth information I’ve ever seen about the characters, the episodes, and why things are so different from Thomas Harris’ riveting novels about the devious doctor we so love to hate. The bit of most interest to me is that they may eventually be able to obtain the rights to use Clarice Starling in the series. That intriguing possibility immediately started chasing itself around in my head. It’s impossible not to wonder how they would fit Clarice into the life of a Hannibal we think hasn’t met her yet. I’ve been fascinated by the ways his macabre dance with Bedelia seems to mirror the Hannibal and Clarice dark duet of Harris’ novel Hannibal. Though it sounds like mystique is the underpinning beneath the surface of Hannibal’s actions regarding his own shrink, I’m in for the ride, wherever it goes. It took some time, but I’ve come to accept the TV series Hannibal as its own, unique Hannibal Lecter vessel. They know what they’re doing. The fact that I don’t is part of the attraction to this character driven, beautifully executed moving still life of a horror show.

Hannibal Season Two — Trailer

I love Twitter hashtags. This title comes from one a couple of days ago:  CakeFilms. I was like a kid in a candy (well, cupcake more aptly) store and had to make myself stop.

My favorite I came up with was “You Will Eat a Tall Dark Stranger’s Cake”. As a byproduct of my tangenty way of thinking, it reminded me that I hadn’t watched “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger”, though I’ve had the DVD for some time. So during a morning spot of insomnia, I rectified that.

After a long ago Woody Allen phase, during which I devoured a bunch
of his greats (“Radio Days”,”Manhattan”, “Hannah and Her Sisters”, and my favorite of course “The Purple Rose of Cairo”) and loved them, I hadn’t watched any in years.

“Stranger” was actually for my shelves busting Anthony Hopkins collection. Though I always love his work, I couldn’t really like his Alfie in this. Not while I was itching to thwack him upside the head for being such an idiot! Of course I enjoyed watching a masterful actor work his chameleonlike magic. That was the trouble with Alfie, though. He was so well-written and acted that he was simply exasperating.

The movie in general was like an irony tolerance experiment to the point that keeping up made my brain hurt. So much misplaced longing and heartbreak raced along at surprisingly breakneck speed that watching was a kaleidoscopic experience, with the little pieces of colored glass replaced by little pieces of broken hearts.

I do not like occult heavy stories,even when there are moments of real humor and it’s by Woody Allen. Ditto on sometimes crass, often over the top sexual themes…ditto on the moments of real humor and the Woody Allen factor. So this is probably seeming to wind its way toward a negative reaction. In fact I pretty much thought it was right after watching.

But it’s not. The more I’ve thought about it the more the way it positively reeks of massive overdoses of irony appeals to me. I’m a big fan of making characters suffer, then springing a huge payoff of some kind after the audience has been lulled into a state of unsuspecting near stupor.

So almost all the characters get what they deserve in one way or another. An Armageddonlike storm of just desserts, poetic justice, and downright you reap what you sew…in spades. Except. Except for Alfie’s daffy ex, Helena. She grabs the brass ring, in the form of an  elusive Woody Allen happy ending.

So. In spite of there being multiple things about “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” that should have held it firmly in don’t really like it land…I kind of do. And even though I couldn’t wrap my head around a way to like poor old Alfie, it was a joy to watch my favorite actor play so far afield from Hannibal Lecter. Seeing the face of said Hannibal Lecter as such a believable milquetoast…priceless.

It’s actually the first Woody Allen movie I’ve watched since I started writing screenplays, and I realize I need to go back and rewatch my old favorites, with an eye toward learning from them. The man is a genius, and I am a spongey brain, ready to soak up the irony, the misery, and the sometimes happy goodness.

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger Trailer