When I think of aspects of the TV show Hannibal, I think ‘organic’! (Perhaps a Hannibal Cuisine line could be marketed. Perhaps it has been.) The show is organic in its perfect, natural unfolding and flow of writing and acting – and in many of its almost unimaginable methods of torture and death.
In Bryan Fuller’s take on author Thomas Harris’ Hannibal creation, man-gods and nature are cruel and gorgeous in their complicity. In scenarios giant fungi consume living human bodies. How must it feel to be sedated and slowly consumed alive by mushrooms?
A victim is mounted atop a deer’s head in an open field;
A musician has his throat opened and a cello neck inserted through his mouth;
A totem pole of both freshly killed and decayed human bodies are found on a beach;
Victims are displayed with Colombian neckties;
Partially preserved bodies are displayed in an interconnected, sewn collage;
A victim has a beehive occupying his half-empty skull - another is found still standing, brain dead but physically alive;
A victim is found surgically grafted onto a tree, his chest cavity stuffed with poisonous flowers;
A victim is placed inside a dead horse’s uterus and has a bird trapped in her chest cavity, in a strange Turducken effect;
A perpetrator is training specially bred pigs to eat people alive …
Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter embodies lurking menace and is simply elegant and perfectly reserved – most of the time; Lawrence Fishburne as the mature, experienced Jack Crawford is perfect; the psychiatrist’s psychiatrist: who better to play Dr. Du Maurier than Gillian Anderson? The entire cast is excellent.
The take on Will Graham’s character, well-played by Hugh Dancy, seems more in depth than in other Hannibal programs. Here we get a sense of Graham’s autism spectrum disorder, implied as being Aspergers. Will creates a canine commune vs. a human one, most easily relating to, and collecting, stray dogs. His dreamscape too is beautifully animalistic.
The filming locations, cinematography and set design are gorgeous. The show is complex, intricate, and (mostly) underplayed. It’s mind-bending, suspenseful and graphic. Check it out!