Review: Thriller? Cannibalism? Bad therapy? Hannibal.


Maya Hendrickson

For fans of phycological thrillers and ‘Silence of the Lambs’, Hannibal is the show for you. It is an extremely well constructed and masterfully written show that encapsulates the most desperate part of human nature. The dialogue is so apt and layered with metaphors it could more accurately be described as poetry. It fixates so fantastically on the human psyche and is expressed on a level that creates new dimensions to the characters. 

It follows Will Graham, an FBI profiler with an extreme empathy disorder. Jack Crawford, who consults with Will, decides to have him supervised by a psychiatrist named Hannibal Lecter. Hannibal, secretly a cannibalistic murderer, is fascinated by Will’s ability to empathize with killers and pushes on Will’s fragile sanity. They form a bond that threatens Hannibal’s ability to remain innocent in the eyes of the other characters. 

The infamous character of Hannibal Lecter, first introduced by Thomas Harris is his novels, then again, of course, in ‘Silence of the Lambs’, is a pretty big shoe to fill. Can any adaptation of this character be more memorable than the ones that came before? Doctor Strange’s Mads Mikkelson and the entire productive team answer our question with a resounding ‘yes’, mirroring the terrifyingly witty Anthony Hopkins’s adaptation, but still putting their own spin on it. Though no one can top the performance by Hopkins, Mikkelson comes very close, his lack of facial expression while still revealing so many hidden emotions becoming the star of the show. Ella Enchanted’s Hugh Dancy as Will Graham also does an outstanding job, portraying such a complex and broken character in such a  hauntingly beautiful way.

The characters are thrilling and the story arc is like no other. The story is not about finding the good and becoming better, quite the opposite. This story shows Will Graham’s corruption arc. It demonstrates the struggle Will has within himself, his desperate need to be seen and his desire to be good. In his desperate attempts to ‘save’ Hannibal, he starts to become him. It shows a much darker part of human nature that we keep buried away. It also shows the complex relationship between Will and Hannibal. In both their desires to be truly seen by another, they build a bond that becomes unbreakable. 

The cinematography is gorgeous, captivating the gruesome and gritty aspects of the show in a beautiful way. Filled with overlapping silhouettes, negative space, extreme closeups, and terrifying visual metaphors, it transforms what could be something so gory and too-character-driven to watch, into something you can’t take your eyes off of. 

Most crime dramas seem to slip through my mind after I’ve finished them. This show was the one exception. Right after I finished the series finale, I picked up the remote and started the first episode again.