Friday, May 17, 2013

Hannibal


Almost hard to believe (in a good way) that Bryan Fuller's HANNIBAL is on a commercial network in the US. It's easily the artiest, most experimental, most grotesque show I've seen on network TV. Definitely represents a sincere network effort to go head-to-head with cable greats such as SIX FEET UNDER, BREAKING BAD, and DEXTER.

The latest episode, 'Sorbet', was riveting, almost transgressive cinema, and was crafted by several names with strong pedigrees in the dark arts.


It was directed with icy, inventive precision by James Foley, who made the extraordinary AT CLOSE RANGE, and was photographed by Canada's Karim Hussain, who directed SUBCONSCIOUS CRUELTY, and shot installments of the recent THE THEATER BIZARRE and three other HANNIBAL episodes.


As this episode featured a lot of material involving the removal and cooking of body parts, the direct musical references to Nacho Cerda's AFTERMATH, in addition to soundscapes that, for me, also echoed Cerda's necrophilia-themed short, were music to my ears and riches for my eyes. 

As an expansion of the world (characters and themes) created by Thomas Harris in his novel 'Red Dragon' (filmed as MANHUNTER and RED DRAGON respectively), producer Bryan Fuller and his team clearly respect the origins of their show, but understand that they must venture beyond those origins in order to fly, and to enrich the source. 

They are doing that skilfully and artfully. 



Like the current BATES MOTEL, HANNIBAL is a refreshing, intelligent enrichment of a familiar literary and cinematic world. Both get the tone right, and never come across as imitative or purely profit-driven. Their respective original writers, Robert Bloch and Thomas Harris, might be comforted by a feeling I have that good TV is looking, sounding, and smelling more like a great novel these days where there is more room and time to depict the internal as well as the external.

Good, bloody times!




4 comments:

  1. always been a big mads fan. i'll check out hannibal and let you know what i thought.

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  2. I agree-both Hannibal and Bates Motel became "must watch" TV for me. I can't wait for American Horror Story to come back this fall!

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  3. Paul -- Mads is an amazing actor. Check him out in THE HUNT, too.

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    Sharon -- hear! hear! Looking forward to AHS also.

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  4. saw the hunt a few months back and thought he was exceptional (as always). started watching hannibal and was really amazed by the first episode. it's not nearly as good after that, but still manages to do pretty good for itself, especially in terms of imaginative (and beautifully realized) gore, production design and cinematography. my biggest problem with it are the supporting characters who all are too pretty / too TV to be convincing. what is it with network TV convinced you HAVE to have young/pretty faces vs. character actors?the forensic team are all weak, but the biggest sore thumbs are Caroline Dhavernas who plays dr. bloom and Hettienne Park who plays katz. i'm only 6 episodes in but i also think mads is being underutilized. his hannibal is a bit too flat for me, not that i need him to be showy...but i'd like a little more meat on his plate (no pun intended).

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